While movie theaters seem like a distant memory for many of us, a handful of tech companies are figuring out how to make at-home streaming a more social experience.
One of those companies is Seattle-based Scener, which raised $2.1 million in a seed funding round last week.
Scener is a co-watching platform, where people can host virtual movie or TV viewings with up to one million participants. Viewers can also communicate with each other via video chat or messaging during the movie through the Scener platform. It is currently compatible with Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Hulu, Prime Video and more.
Co-watching services like Netflix Party have become popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s worth noting that Scener launched in 2018, back before COVID-19 took over the world. This year, the platform has seen a huge boost in engagement. The company’s Chrome extension has around 500,000 active installs, and Scener viewers collectively watch over 13.5 million minutes together every week on average.
The company plans to use this new funding to invest in product development for its platform, as well as its community of hosts and events. Several actors and movie personalities have joined Scener as hosts, which gives audience members the chance to watch a movie or show while getting an insider look. Occasionally, the platform will host multiple celeb-hosted viewings through specific events. Right now, Scener is hosting its “Stream and Scream” event, which features several horror movies and shows throughout the month of October.
“We’re incredibly excited about this funding milestone, as it enables us to double down on our vision to become the ultimate watch party destination for anyone craving a social entertainment experience,” COO and co-founder Joe Braidwood said in a statement. “The funding not only helps to further our commitment to bring people together over the shows and movies they love, but it helps speed up our plans to bring Scener to new services and devices, as well as build up our community of incredible party hosts — from RiffTrax to Fantastic Fest. The Virtual Movie Theater is open and we’d love to see you join us there tonight!”