HBO And Scener Set Social Co-View Deal, But It Won’t Apply To HBO Max At Launch

HBO has set a deal with Scener, a social video startup, that enables remote co-viewing of HBO programming with a live chat feature.

The deal covers HBO’s existing streaming platforms, the stand-alone subscription service HBO Now and the authenticated pay-TV app HBO Go. It is not expected to include HBO Max when that expanded offering launches on May 27. WarnerMedia has said that HBO Now and HBO Go will continue to operate for some period of time alongside HBO Max.

Scener’s technology is roughly comparable with that of Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension that has gained popularity in recent months during the COVID-19 shutdowns. When Scener launched in 2018, it offered co-viewing of Netflix, Hulu and YouTube programming.

Joe Braidwood, Co-Founder and COO of Scener, said he had no “specifics to share” about HBO Max. “We’re currently focused on making the best co-watching experience for HBO Now and HBO Go programming,” he said. “We’re planning on expanding Scener to support other SVOD products in the future, but don’t have specifics to share today regarding HBO Max or other products right now.”

Subscribers to Now and Go can create their own private “theaters” on Windows, Mac, or Chromebook devices by downloading Scener’s free extension from the Chrome Web Store. Viewers can host watch parties for up to 20 friends. Scener said it will soon expand to bigger co-watching parties, which will allow viewers to watch synchronously with a live host, or a live group, over video chat.
Seattle-based Scener was incubated by RealNetworks, a pioneer in streaming media.

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