Twitch Opens ‘Watch Parties’ to Top U.S. Streamers With 70-Plus Amazon Prime Video Titles

Al Pacino Hunters Amazon
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Amazon has found a new way to monetize its Prime Video catalog: It’s now letting top Twitch live-streamers host “watch parties” to provide running commentary alongside a selection of movies and TV shows.

Starting Thursday, Twitch is opening up Watch Parties to the biggest streaming channels on the platform in the U.S. (which it refers to as Twitch Partners). That will let Twitch creators with active Prime memberships live-stream any one of a collection of more than 70 movies and TV shows available on Prime Video on their channels — and followers (who also must be Prime customers) will see them in a thumbnail picture-in-picture in the corner of the screen, reacting as the episode or movie plays on the main screen.

The Prime Video titles available with Twitch’s Watch Parties include Amazon Studios originals like “Hunters” (starring Al Pacino and Logan Lerman, pictured above), “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” “Troop Zero” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” as well as third-party licensed content such as the original “Star Trek” — plus “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” — “Survivor,” “Farscape,” “Mr. Robot,” “Marvel’s Avengers,” “Psych,” “America’s Next Top Model” and Rooster Teeth’s “RWBY” (volumes 4, 5 and 6).

Twitch says it expects to expand Watch Parties to include the entire Prime Video video-on-demand catalog later this year. The move represents yet another way for Amazon to drive people to pay for Prime ($119 per year in the U.S.): All users watching a Watch Party, regardless of whether they’re the streamer or viewer, need a Prime membership.

But it’s also meant to help Twitch Partners engage with their fans — and make money — through a co-viewing experience in which the hosts provide play-by-play commentary, à la “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” As with other Twitch livestreams, viewers can participate by submitting chat comments and emoji.

Twitch Partners can offer subscriptions (ranging from $4.99-$24.99 per month) with various perks, with 50% of that going to the streamer. In addition, fans can purchase “Bits” (starting at $1.40 for a pack of 100 Bits) to send special premium emoji to the streamers via chat; Twitch gives participating Partners a share of revenue it generates from Bits (equal to 1 cent per Bit used to Cheer for them). Twitch Partners also earn a share of revenue generated from any ads played on their channel.

Twitch launched an early version of Watch Parties last October with a small group of creators. It cited the current coronavirus pandemic for opening up Watch Parties to a broader streamer base, saying in a blog post, “we know how valuable shared experiences like Watch Parties are to our community.”

In the coming weeks, Twitch plans to make Watch Parties available to all creators in the U.S. who are Amazon Prime members and expects to roll them out in other countries too. Creators will receive an email notification when Watch Parties has been added to their Twitch Creator Dashboard, the company says.

Here’s a list of titles available for Twitch’s Watch Parties today:

  • A Simple Favor
  • AFK
  • After the Rain
  • America’s Next Top Model
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Banana Fish
  • Baywatch
  • Before the Dawn
  • Bone Tomahawk
  • Braven
  • Brittany Runs a Marathon
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Carnival Row
  • Chuck
  • Dark Shadows
  • Death Wish
  • Dororo
  • Eureka
  • Farscape
  • Flavor of Love
  • Good Omens
  • Grimm
  • Grimoire of Zero
  • Hanna
  • Hell’s Kitchen (U.S.)
  • House
  • Hunters
  • Inuyashiki Last Hero
  • Jackass 3
  • James May: Our Man in Japan
  • Land of the Lustrous
  • Made in Abyss
  • Making the Cut
  • Marvel’s The Avengers
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout
  • Modern Love
  • Monk
  • Mr. Robot
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Pawn Stars
  • Pokemon the Series: Diamond and Pearl
  • Psych
  • Re:Creators
  • Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter
  • RWBY: Volume 4
  • RWBY: Volume 5
  • RWBY: Volume 6
  • Sex and the City
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Star Trek original series (remastered)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Stargate Atlantis
  • Stargate SG-1
  • Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie
  • Strike Back
  • Survivor
  • The Amazing Race
  • The Boys
  • The Expanse
  • The Grand Tour
  • The Gymkhana Files
  • The Man In the High Castle
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • The Mentalist
  • The Rage
  • The Woman in Black
  • Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
  • Troop Zero
  • True Grit (2010)
  • Unsolved Mysteries: Original Robert Stack Episodes
  • Vikings
  • Vinland Saga
  • Workaholics