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Watch parties Rebooting the watercooler moment

Report by Ben Woods
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20,000 foot view: Group watching television with family and friends is being consigned to a bygone era. Algorithms are forcing entertainment consumers into silos through an endless stream of personally recommended content and the fallout is a relentless battle for audience engagement across a myriad of devices. Subscription video on demand services (SVOD) are eating linear TV, while SVOD is under siege from social video – and after decades of ruling household entertainment, the smartphone is dethroning the TV set. As a result, watercooler moments that define cultures and drive discovery through word of mouth are losing their potency outside of news and sport. Watch parties could provide a rear-guard offensive.

Key insights

  • Linear television has become background viewing as nearly half        of smart- TV owners watch TV while doing something else

  • SVOD consumption is a focused activity for smart-TV owners with        concentrating on the task, compared to        who say it is on in the background

  • However, SVOD viewing is splintered by devices and age demographics –        of        watched shows and movies on a smartphone during        2022

  • SVOD engagement is also pressured by entertainment multi-tasking; socialising while engaging in digital expanded from        hours to        hours per week between        2021 and        2022

  • Watch parties fight fragmentation by targeting an engagement sweet spot. In               of focused video viewers watched something they are a fan of and        watched new content

  • Watch parties can make video ad-friendly by using engagement data for better performance –        of binge viewers paid attention to ads that were relevant to them

  • Watch parties can identify influencers to bolster engagement by targeting video and games crossovers –        of horror fans played Call of Duty in        2022

  • Adoption of watch party spending will accelerate by targeting high spenders on creator subscriptions,        of which spent between        and        on in-game purchases during        2022

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:  Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Watch Party, Bridgerton,  Call of Duty, Call of Duty: Warzone , Channel        Crunchyroll, DAZN, Discord,  I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! , Instagram, ITV,  Love is Blind, Minecraft , Netflix, Premier League,  Squid Game , Teleparty,  The Great British Bake Of f, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Peripheral , Twitch, YouTube

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