During the dark days of the Covid-19 pandemic, streaming services made efforts to make isolation more bearable, and Disney Plus’ GroupWatch was one of the best options.
Launched in the U.S. in September 2020, it allowed you to create a group of up to seven people to watch movies and streaming series virtually with family and friends.
It was Disney’s version of Amazon’s Watch Party. It’s also something we’ve seen other services adopt; for example, Apple’s SharePlay is clearly based on a very similar idea. But GroupWatch wasn’t a Covid-19 invention. Disney had already been working on it.
Goodbye to one of the most beloved features for users
Disney had already been working on it, but the pandemic accelerated its plans. However, it now appears to have changed its strategy, and you can no longer find GroupWatch on the Disney Plus website or app. It was apparently removed on September 18th.
Why did Disney Plus remove the beloved and useful GroupWatch feature? They haven’t officially stated the reason yet, but it’s likely related to financial considerations.
Disney is in the midst of a massive cost-cutting process, which could lead Disney Plus to follow in the footsteps of Netflix and restrict account sharing.
You are correct, GroupWatch was not a service for sharing accounts – like some other similar services, you needed to have your own subscription to join the party. However, it’s reasonable to assume that Disney has come to the conclusion that the cost of offering and maintaining group viewing is not worth it.
The timing is quite peculiar. With the ongoing strikes by writers and actors that continue to delay productions, one would think that platforms would be doing everything they can to differentiate themselves by focusing on features like this. We’ll have to see how this all pans out or if they provide any explanation.