Twitch Prime Video: Watch Parties Service Expands Worldwide
Twitch has always wanted to be more than just a video game streaming platform. That’s why it has a category dedicated to “Just Chatting” and it streams classic shows like Inspector Gadget, Doctor Who, and Power Rangers. It is not surprising, therefore, that the company wants to make it easier for streamers to organize “Watch Parties” with their most passionate fans around the world.
Following a closed beta and a US-only release, Twitch offers the Watch Parties feature to all creators and viewers on the platform. That means anyone can stream anything that appears on Prime Video, another Amazon-owned service, including shows like The Boys, Bosch, and Tales from the Loop.
Twitch puts limits on its Watch Parties
However, there are some caveats. Both streamer and viewer need an active Prime Video subscription to participate, for example. Otherwise, millions of people could tune in and watch a new Amazon show without paying the company a penny.
The Prime Video catalog also varies between regions, so if you live in the US you tune in to something that is unique to the UK, you won. Lastly, you cannot watch Watch Parties on a mobile device, although Amazon has promised that it will be available “in the next few months.”
Even with these restrictions, the role could be huge for the company. Soccer fans, for example, could take a break from FIFA and Football Manager watching all or nothing: Tottenham Hotspur. A movie critic, meanwhile, could review any number of movies in actual relation to his fans.
Watch Parties is a unique combination of properties owned by Amazon. For example, there is no Google-created Netflix rival (sorry, YouTube Premium doesn’t count) to offer YouTube streamers. Facebook has dabbled in premium TV shows like Limetown and Sorry for Your Loss, but none have resonated in the same way as Netflix and the best Amazon Originals.
So if they want to clone Watch Parties, Google and Facebook will have to partner with another company (Netflix, HBO, or something similar) that makes the kind of shows that people want to watch together.
How to start a Watch Party on Twitch
As a host, Watch Parties can only be started with an Amazon Prime subscription and Twitch partner or affiliate status. After logging into a Twitch account with those credentials, click the profile icon in the upper right corner and select Creator Dashboard. The menu on the right hand side will have a “+” icon to add options, so just add “Start Watch Party” from there. Clicking on that option will bring up a message to verify a link to an active Amazon Prime account.
The next step is to start streaming. Twitch recommends using a full-screen webcam layout, which makes sense because the host’s stream will be relegated to a small window above the chat, while the rest of the normal viewing screen will play Prime Video. After starting the broadcast, use the menu to select a title and click “Start Watch Party” there to get the broadcast to your channel. The “Open Watch Party in a new tab” option will give you a full screen window to see what you have chosen as well, so you don’t have to watch it on your Twitch channel.
As a guest, Watch Parties will now have its own genre in the Twitch browsing options, making it possible to access any Watch Party stream without invitations. The first time you join, a message will appear to verify the link to an Amazon Prime account, but after that, it will work like watching any other stream. Viewers also have the option to mute the host of a Watch Party at any time and, of course, animate and subscribe to their channels.