Disney Plus launches beta test for streaming watch parties in Canada

Disney Plus is testing a new feature exclusively with Canadian subscribers that recreates the experience of watching TV with a group of family and friends.

The streaming service says it recently launched the virtual social feature GroupWatch, which allows up to six Disney Plus accounts to gather in a synched viewing party where they can play, pause, fast forward and rewind together.

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Disney Plus says social interactions within the group will be "initially limited" to sharing emojis.

The GroupWatch test is available for Disney Plus titles including "The Mandalorian," "Hamilton," and classic animated films.

The feature is supported across all of the Disney Plus streaming apps on TVs, mobile phones, computers or tablets.

Online viewing parties have become commonplace since the start of the pandemic as more people share entertainment experiences while staying at home and physically distant.

Netflix Party, an unofficial third-party app, exploded in popularity in the early days of COVID-19, inspiring some streaming companies to create their own official versions.

Amazon's Prime Video is beta testing its own technology, called Watch Party, in the United States.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2020.

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