In May, the streaming site Viki added their new Watch Party feature on the site. While only a month in, the site runs weekly showings so fans can join and experience their favorite shows together. Honestly, this is probably the best thing they’ve done.
After DramaFever tragically shut down in 2018, most international shows went to two places: Viki or Netflix. While Viki isn’t actually hurting for viewers, Netflix is a big competitor in the streaming business. With their recent move in producing more Asian dramas, Netflix is trying to shut out small sites.
Interestingly, while we have a lot of streaming sites available, none offer a Watch Party function. Oh, you can download one for the site of your choice. However, they’re all made by outsider programmers, not the company themselves. Hulu is currently working on that. But their shows and programs are all behind a paywall.
Meanwhile, Viki is a small site, focusing mostly on international shows that you can watch for free. Granted, some shows are only available for Viki Pass Standard or Pass Plus members, but you don’t have to pay if you don’t want to. You don’t need to officially sign up to see what they offer.
I love that they added this function. Many K-drama fans have tried to get our friends into our favorite shows. I personally found Korean dramas and recommended them to my family. For some people, this is their first venture into Hallyu, and the new culture can be overwhelming or just confusing. We’ve likely said some version of, “Just hold out until this episode. I swear it’ll get better!!” We often have to walk people through it for a few episodes.
Or maybe you’re talking to another K-drama watcher, but they haven’t seen that particular show. Either way, you can be with them as they fall down the Hallyu rabbit hole.
Watch parties are hardly a new thing. From Super Bowl shindigs to live-tweeting movies, we’ve always strived to experience our favorite media together. However, with the dreaded Miss ‘Rona in our midst, we’re trying to connect with our friends and loved ones.
Right now, Viki staff selects and chooses the watch parties. But soon users will be able to host private watch parties themselves.