• Streaming Watch Parties Attract 25 Million U.S. Adults During Pandemic

    Twenty five million U.S. adults participated in streaming watch parties in the past year, according to new research from The Diffusion Group. A watch party is when two or more viewers co-watch synched, on demand video with others outside their homes using any screen connected to the Internet and use social features while watching. TDG surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults over age 18 who use an SVOD service. If under 18 year-olds were surveyed as well the total number of watch party users would no doubt further increase.

    Of course, with the pandemic’s stay at home mandate, it’s no surprise that watch parties boomed. TDG noted that critical to the growth was SVOD services including Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV and others rolling out co-watching features along with third parties like Teleparty and Scener.

    All of these increased awareness of co-watching and also made it a more straightforward mainstream activity. In the survey, TDG found that 60% of adult SVOD users had heard of co-watching, with 30% saying their familiar with or use a co-watching feature. Teleparty seems to be the go-to, with over half of co-watchers having used it, while only a third have used SVOD services’ own co-watching feature. TDG also highlighted the potential for watch parties for live sports, though minimal support currently exists.

    It also seems there’s a big opportunity for connected TV makers to provide some type of native co-watching feature. TDG found that although most co-watching occurs on computers or mobile devices, the vast majority of users would prefer to co-watch on their TV.

    While TDG found that 54% of respondents who had never co-watched were open to doing so, as the pandemic’s stay at home guidelines ease, and especially as theaters continue to re-open, it will be interesting to see how popular co-watching remains. If co-watching remains popular, it could become a valuable feature, helping drive loyalty and retention.

    More information about TDG’s new report is available here.