Apple’s SharePlay platform offers watch together options for ESPN+ and Paramount+

New FaceTime feature to be rolled out with iOS 15 in Q3 2021.

by Tom Bassam

Apple’s SharePlay platform offers watch together options for ESPN+ and Paramount+
  • SharePlay API made broadly available to developers
  • New feature also compatible with non-Apple devices

Technology giant Apple has introduced a new FaceTime feature called SharePlay that will allow users to watch live sports together.

Revealed at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the iOS 15 update will initially see SharePlay work in conjunction with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) over-the-top (OTT) platform, Twitch, TikTok, as well as subscription streaming services such as ESPN+, CBS’s Paramount+, Hulu, Pluto TV and HBO Max.

The technology giant demonstrated SharePlay’s capabilities using Apple TV+ and Apple Music streaming services, where video and audio was synced in real time between call participants. However, SharePlay is also compatible with non-Apple devices via a browser link.

Offering playback tools, as well as the ability to cast to connected devices, Apple is also making the SharePlay API available to developers so they can integrate their own platforms, which could see streaming platform users allowed to share content with non-subscribers.

Apple’s iOS 15 update is expected to go live in Q3 2021.

The move from Apple to introduce its own watch together function follows a trend that developed at pace during the pandemic, with several broadcasters and rights holders introducing similar functionality into their digital platforms.