Read our new manifesto

Explore our new sections and topics

14 - 18 June

Hear me out: the future of creative is sound

Imogen Watson

senior reporter, creative

Dr. Rupy Aujla


Jack Preston

director of Acast creative, UK+ & US

Disney+ introduces GroupWatch, a synced stream feature with emoji reactions

Disney+ has released a co-viewing experience called GroupWatch, allowing it to tap into social viewing during the lockdown.Disney+ has released a co-viewing experience called GroupWatch, allowing it to tap into social viewing during the lockdown. Taking a leaf out of Twitch's book, and it will allow up to seven subscribers co-view.

Here‘s what you need to know about the move.

What is GroupWatch?

  • Seven users can assemble and co-view any Disney+‘s content including Star Wars, Marvel, Disney classics, Pixar, National Geographic and more.

  • The stream is synced, meaning one user can pause and rewind it for all. With cinemas shuttered around the world and Disney testing direct distribution with movies like Mulan, this could be its way of emulating the cinema experience.

  • There‘s an air of Twitch‘s social viewing to this move too. But unlike Twitch, interactions are currently restricted to six emoji reactions: ‘like‘, ‘funny‘, ‘sad‘, ‘angry‘, ‘scared‘ and ‘surprised‘. Further chatter will have to occur off screen on a messaging app (such as a bespoke WhatsApp group).

  • It solidifies Disney+‘s family friendly credentials and adds a social element to its product. There is already a Google Chrome add-on that lets Netflix users do this, (Teleparty), while Amazon Prime Video users have Amazon Watch Party, which enables 100 synced viewers.

  • GroupWatch is compatible with all devices Disney+ runs on. It launched in September in the USA, Canada and New Zealand and today (22 October) landed in the UK.

  • The feature comes to market ahead of the launch of the much-awaited season two of The Mandalorian and after the supposed death of ‘rival‘ Quibi.

  • Jerrell Jimerson, senior vice president of product at Disney+ says: “Storytelling comes alive when you’re able to share and enjoy it with others.“ He touts the safety of remote, virtual viewing “in the comfort of your living room“.

Want to keep up with The Future of Media, subscribe to The Drum's weekly briefing here.