One of the best features of Disney+ was GroupWatch. The feature allowed you to watch your favorite Disney movies with your friends, concurrently, regardless of where each of them are located. It was a great way to share a moment with others without necessarily inviting them over to your house. Now, though, Disney+ has killed off GroupWatch, without really giving a convincing explanation as of why.
Disney+ subscribers noticed this week that the GroupWatch feature was no longer available in the apps and web apps, seemingly without an official announcement. Upon asking customer support, since Disney+ didn’t send out an email or anything of the like anywhere, but customer service representatives are replying that “as of September 18th, 2023, the GroupWatch feature will no longer be available on Disney+.” When asked to expand on why it was actually removed, the reasoning given is pretty vague: “We’re always working to deliver the best product experience on Disney+, and as part of recent updates, the GroupWatch feature was removed.”
It looks like, by all means, Disney+ wanted to remove this as quietly as possible — instead of providing information, the support page for GroupWatch (which still shows up in Google results) now just redirects to the homepage of Disney+’s Help Center. More than the reason for the removal itself, it seems weird that Disney would just quietly remove a staple feature so quietly and without providing much explanation.
As for why it was removed, we can only speculate. Disney+ is increasingly moving into a Netflix-like direction, with price hikes and a willingness to, sooner than later, crack down on password sharing. GroupWatch shouldn’t be a casualty of corporate greed, though, since it was only available to paid customers (since Disney+ isn’t available for free), and wouldn’t affect the service’s profit-focused immediate future at all. There are third-party services such as Teleparty which provide this functionality, and SharePlay appears to still work across Apple devices, but an official cross-platform option will always work better than those.
If you want to continue watching movies and shows with friends, you’ll have to use one of those third-party services. Or you know, just invite them over to your home.