Watch Parties: How Streaming is Changing the Way We Watch Content, Together

By: The BitMar Team.

In recent years, services – like: Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video – have added the ability for users to watch content, together, in real-time—regardless of where they may be, in the World. This has led to a surge in "watch parties," wherein groups of friends, and/or family members, virtually gather to watch movies, or TV shows, together.

According to a survey, conducted by the streaming analytics firm: Conviva, watch parties have become increasingly popular, since the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns. The survey found: that watch parties increased, by: 55%, in the first half of 2020; with viewership up, by: 80%, during the same period.

Watch parties offer a social experience—which is increasingly hard to come by, in a world of social-distancing, and remote work. "It [is] more important than ever – for people to connect, over shared experiences," says: Lisa Rutherford: a media psychologist, and C.E.O. of the consultancy group: Creative Content Coaching. "Streaming watch parties are one way of doing that."

Platforms – like: Scener, and Teleparty – have emerged as leaders, in the watch-party space. Scener – which launched in 2018 – allows users to watch content, from popular streaming services—like: Netflix, HBO, and Hulu – together. Teleparty (formerly known, as: Netflix Party) has a similar offering, but it is focused, specifically, on Netflix content.

Nevertheless, watch parties are not without their downsides. Technical difficulties – like: buffering, and audio-synchronizing issues – can detract from the viewing experience. Coordinating schedules – across different time-zones – and busy lifestyles, can be a challenge.

Despite these challenges, the popularity of watch parties shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, some experts predict: that they could become a permanent fixture of the streaming landscape. "Watch parties are here to stay," says: Rutherford. "They offer an opportunity for people to connect, in a way that [is] convenient, affordable, and fun."

As we continue to navigate the aftermath of the lockdowns, and its impact on our social lives, watch parties are proving to be a valuable tool for staying connected with friends, and loved ones. As streaming platforms continue to innovate, and improve the watch-party experience, we can expect them to remain a popular way to watch content, together, in the years to come.

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