Virtual Co-viewing in the Media Equation

No doubt the many months of stay-at-home orders made us rethink how to stay connected even when physically distanced. One of the more recent innovations came from streaming services adding a social component to an otherwise isolated experience of staying home in front of a screen. 

HBO Max launched a group watch party tool in conjunction with Snapchat, Apple announced SharePlay, a live content-sharing feature via FaceTime, Disney launched GroupWatch, Discord launched a group watch party feature called WatchTogether, Netflix relaunched TeleParty, Twitch has hosted virtual music festivals, and more.  

According to Nielsen, there is a clear rise in total media consumption during shelter-in-place restrictions with high levels of Connected TV (which were already trending higher before the health crisis). As state level restrictions ebb and flow, there continues to be high CTV usage and co-viewing (2+ people) ‒ turning the living room back into a place to socialize with friends (even if virtual). Virtual co-viewing may be an important part of the media equation going forward and brands should keep a close watch on the opportunities that arise as these mediums evolve.