Here’s a new way to actually watch HBO shows with about 20 of your friends, while many Americans are still stuck at home under lockdown.
Seattle-based startup Cena has introduced support for HBO, which enables co-viewing features for HBO Go viewers and not HBO through the Google Chrome browser extension. The premium programmer, owned by WarnerMedia, began working with the scene on the feature earlier this spring.
HBO customers can create their own personal theaters on Windows, Mac or Chromebooks by downloading the free Scenario extension from the Chrome Web Store. Viewers can host watch parties with friends by enabling up to 20 people to watch streaming programming synthesized from HBO via video chat. The scene plans to start support for larger co-viewing teams soon
The view, which was first launched in 2018, now supports Netflix co-viewing sessions.
“COVID-19 underscores the need to virtually connect with loved ones and provides a great way to interact with Cinar’s partnership with HBO,” said Joe Brywood, co-founder and COO of the scene. “Combining the worlds of live video chat and streaming entertainment makes the scene easier to watch TV together from a safe distance – an enjoyment for our loved ones to watch.”
Ready to launch on May 27 about whether Sinar’s system will support HBO Max, Broadwood said he was unable to comment.
The terms of HBO’s contract with Sinar are not being disclosed, but there is likely to be an earnings-sharing agreement. “Our revenue model is to partner with SVOD and AVOD video entertainment providers to drive engagement in their content,” Bridwood said.
Also, look at how larger co-viewing events can provide other opportunities. “The best example here is how Twitch has created an economy with bits around tips and shouting,” Bridwood said.
Scene Virtual Movie Theater Browser Extension synchronizes playback for all viewers (each of whom must have an HBO subscription). The interface has a sidebar for participants to engage in video, audio and text chat.
Sinar’s Google Chrome extension does not support HBO and supports HBO Go for Mac, Windows PC and Chromebook. A webcam is required for video chat, and headphones are offered. The scene was raised by media-streaming company Real Networks, the primary investor.