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Amazon beta testing Prime Video 100-user ‘watch party’ feature

OTT platform trialling live chat and synchronised playback for US users.

by Steven Impey

Amazon beta testing Prime Video 100-user ‘watch party’ feature
  • Social viewing currently only available to Amazon Prime subscribers in the US
  • Amazon first introduced live chat experience to its Twitch gaming platform in April

Amazon Prime Video, the technology giant’s subscription streaming service, has begun rolling out a co-viewing experience that allows up to 100 users to watch original content within an exclusive virtual forum.

The new feature, initially only available to US subscribers, sees Amazon become the latest to add a 'watch party' option into its direct-to-consumer (DTC) platform, continuing a trend that has become increasingly popular with broadcasters during the coronavirus lockdown.

While Prime Video’s feature is currently being beta tested, including the use of synchronised playback controls, Amazon first started trialling the feature on its gaming-focused Twitch streaming platform in April.

The expanded trial comes after Amazon Prime recently confirmed plans to co-stream four live matches from English soccer’s top-flight Premier League via Twitch.

Elsewhere, Disney’s Hulu streaming platform and the Scener virtual movie service are among other over-the-top (OTT) services to adopt live chat features. Traditional broadcasters are also leveraging social viewing into their digital live sports coverage. For example, UK pay-TV networks Sky Sports and BT Sport both rolled out social viewing features on their digital services ahead of the Premier League’s resumption. 

So far, Amazon's new feature has only been made available for video-on-demand (VOD) content on desktop. However, with Amazon also seeking to expand its live programming on Prime Video, there appears to be scope for social viewing functionality to be built into the live sport content on the service in the future.