Disney Plus has discontinued its popular GroupWatch feature, leaving subscribers feeling both nostalgic and confused. This feature enabled friends and family to watch Disney Plus shows and movies together from different locations and was a lifeline for many during the pandemic. The change has left many Disney Plus enthusiasts feeling a sense of sadness and longing for the feature.
GroupWatch made its debut in September 2020, just when the world was grappling with the challenges of social distancing. It was a breath of fresh air, offering a way for people to come together virtually and share the joy of watching their favorite Disney content. Even when separated by miles, this feature made it possible to enjoy movies and shows simultaneously, as if you were sitting together in a living room.
The concept was simple but effective. Whether it was grandparents watching with grandkids or friends enjoying movie night from their respective homes, GroupWatch made shared viewing experiences more accessible than ever. Alongside synchronized watching, it added a fun twist with reaction emojis that allowed viewers to express their thoughts in real-time. It was a feature that brought Disney stories to life in a whole new way.
Disney’s decision to sunset GroupWatch coincides with a significant period of change for the streaming giant. Notably, Disney Plus increased the price of its premium version earlier this year, from $10.99/month to $13.99/month. This move was mirrored by Hulu, Disney’s other streaming service, which bumped its premium plan from $14.99/month to $17.99/month. Both platforms continued to offer an ad-supported option for $7.99/month, and Disney also introduced a bundled package including Disney Plus and Hulu for $9.99/month.
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These adjustments were driven by Disney’s commitment to giving subscribers choice and flexibility. Joe Earley, President of Direct-to-Consumer for Disney Entertainment, highlighted this strategy, stating, “The strong momentum of our ad-supported plans in the U.S. demonstrates the importance of providing consumers with choice, flexibility, and value.“
While the loss of GroupWatch might sting, Disney Plus subscribers can still look forward to exciting developments in the streaming world. Disney is gearing up to launch a premium duo bundle that combines an ad-free Disney Plus subscription with Hulu. This move aims to enrich the content offering for subscribers, providing them with a more comprehensive streaming experience.
Disney also has plans to integrate a substantial amount of Hulu content into Disney Plus, making it available to bundle subscribers. This integration will provide access to an even broader and more diverse range of content.