Hulu is testing a new Watch Party feature to stream with friends. A large number of Americans are still at home under quarantine orders and the company is trying to find a way to make it easy for subscribers to watch movies and shows together. Hulu will test Watch Party beginning today. The social feature allows viewers to watch various titles together and chat in groups as big as eight. In this initial stage, viewers can only use the feature on Hulu.com and with selected titles. Still, it shows a way in which the streaming platform is trying to improve their user experience as new services are popping up by the day. HBO Max just got off the ground yesterday and there are more “streaming wars” challengers entering the fray by the day.
In a more cynical view, Hulu Watch Party does also seem to be part of an effort to get people to sign up for the $11.99
monthly subscription tier. Those users are the only ones who will be able to use the new Watch Party functionality. All of those that qualify can access the test by clicking on the “Watch Party” icon on the details page of a show or movie on the platform. From there, they will receive a link to invite family and friends to the watch party room. However, all of those people will need to be on the higher tier subscription to participate, so keep that in mind.
Inside the room, the chat window on the right-hand side will provide the conversation while the movie or show is playing. Users can actually pause and play their own stream without affecting the other party members. If you have to run to the bathroom, then everyone else will proceed as usual. There’s a handy “click to catch up” button there for when you want to rejoin the action with everyone else. Hulu made all of this with their in-house product team. No browser plug-ins or other apps to download. All of the shows available for now will have the “Watch Party” icon next to them in their details pages.
Users will have to be 18 or older to get in on the watch party fun. But, for the people who can make use of the feature, it will be a welcome addition. In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Netflix Party became a cause for celebration on the Internet because of similar features. The Disney-owned brand wasn’t about to let the competition get out ahead of it in this regard. With the playing field stacked with competitors, the streaming platforms on offer are going to have to do whatever they can to stand out in front of an audience. With Hulu baking watch parties in, it will be interesting to see how Netflix, HBO Max, and others respond.
Would you use Hulu’s watch party feature? Let us know in the comments!
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