Hulu expands availability of Watch Party feature

(Hulu)

After earlier this year testing a Watch Party feature for Hulu (No Ads) subscribers, the service is opening the option up to all its on-demand customers.

The decision follows the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, when Hulu said its viewers hosted a record number of watch parties and watched its new original film, “Happiest Season.”

The feature is launched through the “Watch Party” icon on each title’s Details page and viewers can share a link with up to seven other Hulu subscribers to join. Viewers must be 18 years of age or older to access the feature. While watching, group members can use chat function and control their own playback.

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RELATED: Hulu tests Watch Party social viewing feature

Throughout the pandemic, many streaming video and linear TV providers have tested co-watching features.

Last month, Comcast launched a new livestreaming app on X1 and Flex called Watchwith that lets viewers interact and includes features like Sneak Peek meter, a polling feature that will enable the audience to collectively unlock video clips.

In September, Disney+ introduced GroupWatch, a co-viewing feature that allows for up to seven people to watch together in a synced playback experience. The company said the feature is available across web, mobile, connected TV devices and smart TVs. Subscribers can launch the experience through the GroupWatch icon found on the Details page of series and movies from the library on Disney+.

A few weeks earlier, Sling TV launched a Watch Party feature that works for live and on-demand content in Sling Orange, Sling Blue, Sling Latino and Sling International services, or any Sling TV Extra. The company said the feature is currently available to existing Sling TV customers on Google Chrome web browsers via laptop and desktop computers.

Other streaming services including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Movies Anywhere have also tested co-watching features.