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Co-Viewing Primarily Popular With Younger Viewers; Amazon Watch Party is Most Used App

Jeff Kotuby

What’s better than streaming your favorite shows? Watching them with friends, of course! Streaming apps like Amazon Watch Party, NetflixParty, Metastream, and more allow users to stream content with their friends and chat about it while watching. It’s like your own little “Mystery Science Theater 3000” — complete with all your favorite people.

Hub Entertainment Research examined which group viewing services were most utilized and found that Amazon Watch party was, by and large, the leader in the space. The second and third-ranked services are Discord and Zoom, two services that have no ties to streaming content (at least at the moment) but make sense in the grand scheme of things.

Discord allows users to stream content, which is usually used to stream gaming content, but would obviously make sense to stream shows and movies, too. Zoom, of course, has been the lifeblood of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic and would be something that many individuals would have on their devices for work or school. Zoom’s streaming capabilities would likely be crude but would work for those who don’t mind having their screen shared while a movie or show is playing.

The study also found that co-viewing through apps is a young person’s game. Just over two-fifths of viewers age 16-34 say they’ve used a co-viewing app, compared with 23 percent of those aged 35-54. Only 3 percent of those 55 or older have claimed to use a co-streaming app.

This concept isn’t particularly new, either. Back on the Xbox 360, Netflix was praised for its Party Mode, where users could log into Xbox Live to join their friends in watching Netflix shows or movies. The service was discontinued at the end of 2011 due to hardware upgrades that made the service impossible. The death of Netflix Party Mode looks to have set in motion a new generation of co-viewing apps in its stead. If the success of Amazon’s first-party service is any indication, it’s something other streaming companies might be wise to get in on before it’s too late.

“Co-viewing apps and services are becoming increasingly important, no doubt driven in part by recent pandemic experiences,” said David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the Evolution of the TV Set report. “Content distributors and streaming services that help enable this behaviour will increase their appeal to young adults overall, and in particular young men. This is an important consideration with the advent of fully or partially ad-supported streaming services and the desirability of these key demos to advertisers.”

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