Twitch "Watch Parties" Let Me Stream Movies To The Viewers I Don't Have

Photo: Marco Verch, Flickr

Ever since Amazon bought Twitch for a cool $1.42 billion back in 2014, it seemed inevitable that eventually its catalogue of movies and shows would make their way onto the streaming platform for live viewing get-togethers. It may have taken a hot minute, but Twitch finally began testing a “Watch Parties” feature this week, albeit among a few select streamers.

Twitch streamers like Brandon Nance and Travis Shreffler tweeted screenshots Thursday of emails inviting them to try out the new feature. Now, Twitch has organised events for viewers to binge flicks like Star Wars or Disney movies together in the past, but they were exclusively hosted through the company’s official channel, Twitch Presents. According to these invitations, streamers will be able to host selections from Amazon Prime Video’s library directly on their channels so they can watch and chat with their viewers.

So long as those viewers have Twitch Prime, that is. While streaming and watching most content on Twitch is free, users who link their Amazon Prime and Twitch accounts get access to perks like a free channel subscription every month or exclusive emotes. And now, it seems, a seat in its online movie theatre.

Only a small portion of Prime Video’s full collection of movies and shows are currently available, the invitation continues, such as Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series, Mission: Impossible - Fallout, and Pokémon (which I’m hoping means both the franchise’s movies and shows, but it doesn’t specify. Just... Pokémon).

The company plans to add more offerings eventually, and I’m sure Amazon is chomping at the bit to include some of its original series like Good Omens and The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel among them. Though Prime’s library also has plenty of popular bread-and-butter exclusives too. For example, my mum’s never watched a minute of Twitch in her life, but if channels started hosting Downton Abbey marathons, hell she’d be spamming “F” in chat with the best of them.

No word yet on when “Watch Parties” will roll out to the masses, though we’ve asked Twitch as much and will update this article with their response. However, you can let Twitch know what Prime Video titles you’d like to see added to the list by emailing [email protected]

With other rapidly growing platforms like Mixer and Facebook Gaming finally making a dent in Twitch’s stronghold on the streaming industry, Amazon’s smart to fold in as many exclusive features as it can while Twitch continues to outmatch its competitors in cultural clout. Though I’d hate to see what kind of movies our dear president, who joined Twitch earlier this month, might choose to stream. My money’s on The Birth of a Nation.


Comments

    How will this work with donations though?

    Will twitch allow viewer donations during a watch party?

      As described, this doesn't give the viewer access to any content they're not already paying Amazon to watch. So I would think you could make the argument that any further donations would relate to the value the channel adds on top.

      That said, it's quite possible that Amazon would put this in the "too hard" basket and block donations for such a stream, or work out some direct form of revenue share.

        I mean if you receive donations during a watch party you are essentially generating profit off someone else's copyrighted content without permission.

        Will be interesting to see how this develops further.

          That doesn't automatically make it illegal though. Other than the tight integration, it sounds fairly similar to the commentary tracks for films sold by RiffTrax, or Roy & HG's old Grand Final commentary that was intended to play over the top of the television simulcast.

          Also, given that most streaming services pay royalties based on how many times a film/show is streamed, the streamer is generating income for the rights holder that might not otherwise have occurred.

          Finally: we're talking about films and shows that Amazon has negotiated agreements to stream. It is quite possible that those agreements took into account what they plan to do here, so it might not have to rely on default rights.

          The Watch Party will only be available to those with Prime, meaning who ever is watching is already paying Amazon for Prime, so they [Amazon] aren't totally missing out on profits. Though it would be understandable if they do take a % cut from donations given to the streamer

    This is a cool idea, but it sucks that it's restricted to Amazon video content only.

    I'd love do something like this with music videos, where we watch and introduce videos for cool music, kind of like Rage but on Twitch.

    US only at launch according to one of the linked images (on Travis Shreffler's twitter.)

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