Hulu has begun testing a new co-viewing feature that will help facilitate the type of virtual movie nights that have become popular as Americans isolate at home.
Hulu Watch Party, the streamer’s first social feature, will allow subscribers in different places to co-view a TV show or movie. The technology is launching today on the Hulu website for subscribers to its $12-per-month no-ads plan.
People who have access to the test will see a Watch Party icon in the Details page for some shows and movies. Clicking on that icon will create an invite link to share with family and friends. Those who watch together will see a chat function that allows them to share reactions in real time.
Individuals will be able to control their own playback, meaning they can pause to grab more popcorn without affecting the viewing experience for others in the Watch Party. People who fall behind will see a “Click to Catch Up” button.
Co-viewing products like Netflix Party and Scener have become popular amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Some companies, including BBC, have introduced their own technologies to allow people to watch content together.
Hulu Watch Party will support up to eight viewers, all of whom must be subscribers to the no-ads plan participate. The company says thousands of movies and shows will be available to view using Watch Party.