Peacock lets subscribers watch live episodes with their favorite stars in real time

Peacock is launching a new interactive experience later this month that allows fans to livestream episodes alongside actors from the show who provide real-time reactions, commentary and a live Q&A.

The feature dubbed “Watch With” is set to roll out on February 24, a day after the second season premiere of Peacock’s “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reboot series, “Bel-Air.” Viewers can try the new experience at 9 p.m. ET, where they’ll be able to watch the “Bel-Air” premiere with main cast members Jabari Banks, who plays Will on the show, and Olly Sholotan, who plays Carlton.

When users enter the livestream, they’ll see a split-screen view. As the premiere episode plays on one side, there will be a video overlay of Banks and Sholotan reacting to scenes, providing commentary and answering questions. There will also be a viewer count of how many fans are watching. Users can send questions via social media using the hashtag #WatchWithPeacock.

The company has previously touted “Bel-Air” as being the most successful original show in the streaming service’s two-year history, breaking records for new subscribers, usage and upgrades to the Premium tier. In May 2022, the company said that “Bel-Air” reached 8 million accounts. Peacock recently reported a total of 20 million paid subscribers.

Image Credits: Peacock

Other Peacock shows will eventually get the “Watch With” feature. For instance, it will expand to “Eurovision,” the live song contest, with host and two-time Olympian Johnny Weir as the featured star. Fans of “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip” will soon get to enjoy commentary from Candiace Dillard Bassett and Marysol Patton. Peacock will announce more titles at a later date.

Select subscribers may have already seen a test of the “Watch With” feature. Last year, Peacock tested a beta version of the product for “The Real Housewives of Miami” with stars Larsa Pippen and Marysol Patton.

“After exceeding our viewership forecasts, we’re highly encouraged by the first test of ‘Watch With’ as a way to super-serve fans with a live communal viewing experience. As we work to build an unrivaled audience experience at Peacock, we’re looking to continue experimenting with in-product innovations that enhance the streaming experience and break into the cultural zeitgeist,” said John Jelley, senior vice president of Product & UX at Peacock.

The feature seems to be a step up from your average “Watch Party” feature, which many streaming services offer to allow family members and friends to watch their favorite shows together.

Netflix offered a similar experience last summer when it teamed up with co-viewing platform Scener to give fans of “Stranger Things” the ability to attend a virtual watch party for the finale of Season 4. Cast members David Harbour, Brett Gelman, Joseph Quinn and Jamie Campbell Bower joined the event for a live Q&A.

“Watch With” is the latest interactive experience that Peacock is launching. The streaming service is also rolling out “Choose Your Reality,” an interactive storytelling feature that will let Peacock Premium subscribers delve deeper into select scenes and watch extended clips like extra footage and interviews.

“Choose Your Reality” will launch in season three of “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip,” set to premiere sometime this year.

Peacock is likely launching these interactive features to make its paid subscription more attractive to users. In Q4 2022, the company revealed that its losses continue to widen, reporting an adjusted EBITDA loss of $978 million. Also, Peacock no longer offers its free tier to new customers, further shifting its focus to its Premium offering.