In this era of social distancing, online watch parties — watching online content in sync with friends — have become commonplace, but doing so usually requires specialized third party services. It seems that might start to change; Hulu is now testing an official Watch Party feature of its own.
Unfortunately, it’s currently only available on the desktop. No mobile apps, no TV apps. Worse, it’s only available to users who are signed up for Hulu‘s ‘No ads’ tier. Considering I don’t know anyone who actually pays for said tier — last May, Hulu said 70 percent of customers were on the ad-supported tier — it might be difficult to coordinate friends and family to actually join a Watch Party.
If you and your comrades are subscribed to the fancy Hulu tier, then you can simply visit hulu.com, find the content you want to watch, and then select the Watch Party icon from the show’s detail page. Hulu will then generate a link you can share with friends.
Once started, you can use the chat window to add your own colorful commentary, and a ‘click to catch up’ button helps makes sure everyone is on the same page.
The feature currently works with ‘thousands’ of TV shows and movies — again, just look for the Watch Party icon. Its implementation is unfortunately limited, but hopefully Hulu eventually finds those of us on the cheaper tiers deserve to throw Watch Parties too.