Disney+ has introduced a new feature called GroupWatch. This new co-viewing feature will allow users to connect with friends and family as they can watch movies and shows from the entire Disney+ library together. The feature allows for up to seven people to watch together using synchronized playback. The feature is available across web, mobile, TV devices and Smart TVs.

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The feature had originally been tested in Canada earlier this month before making a wider rollout. During quarantine, features like this have been quite popular. A third party Netflix Party app became popular earlier in the year, with Hulu rolling out a similar feature as well. Now Disney+ is joining in as well, allowing for more options when it comes to safe, shared viewing experiences. Jerrell B Jimerson, SVP Product Management for Disney+, had this to say.

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"Storytelling comes alive when you're able to share and enjoy it with others, and in this moment when many are still apart from their friends and family, GroupWatch offers a way to safely connect virtually by co-viewing your favorite Disney+ stories with your favorite people from the comfort of your living room."
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To use the feature, subscribers need to find the GroupWatch icon, which can be found on the "Details" page on any more or TV show on Disney+. They will then be given a link, which can be used to invite up to six other people to watch with them. The only condition is that they must also have a Disney+ subscription. Invitations must originate from mobile or web, but anyone can watch from a connected TV device or Smart TV after the invites have been sent.

GroupWatch's synchronized playback feature will allow each participant to pause for a bathroom break, or what have you, as well as play, rewind or fast forward, for the whole group. The feature also comes with six different emojis that can be used during watch parties including "like", "funny", "sad", "angry", "scared" and "surprised."

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This comes at a seemingly opportune time as Disney+ has some of its most highly-anticipated content of the year coming down the pipeline. First off, The Mandalorian season 2 is set to kick off on October 30. That means you and some friends could have a weekly appointment with Mando and Baby Yoda, should you so choose. We also recently got confirmation that WandaVision is set to debut before the end of the year. This is the first live-action Marvel show developed for Disney+, which is heavily connected to the movies of Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Disney+ launched last November putting Disney squarely in the middle of the streaming wars. So far, so good. The service already passed 60 million subscribers as of August, which blew away expectations for the first year. Though Netflix is about to pass 200 million worldwide so there is still some ground to be made up there. But they have accomplished an awful lot in a relatively short amount of time. The GroupWatch feature is available now via the Disney+ streaming app.

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Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott