Streaming Viewership Has Gone Up By 85% Since March


In what’s probably not going to be a surprise to most people, the amount of minutes spent streaming content has sharply risen during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent research study, between March 30th and June 7th, streaming minutes have grown by 85% compared to same period last year. With people unable to get out to enjoy entertainment, the time spent on Netflix and other services has increased by a large margin.

Of course, this is to be expected due to the current situation we find ourselves in, and the difficulty for broadcast networks and cable channels to keep their schedules fresh. Presumably referring only to US figures, 1.48 billion minutes of content have been streamed across the major platforms between March and June, compared to 799 million in that period in 2019. Of the big players, Amazon has seen the largest increase in streaming time, being up by 106%.

By comparison, YouTube has expanded their streaming minutes by 96%, Netflix by 76% and Hulu by 68%. We can also add in the newer forces on the market like Disney Plus and HBO Max, with competition for subscribers only growing as people consume more streaming material. Indeed, with Disney looking to release more of its planned theatrical titles straight-to-streaming, this release window is partially making up for the loss of theatrical revenue for the corporation.

There have also been some side-effects for this spike in streaming, with Netflix forced to cut streaming rates in Europe back in March due to network problems. Overall, though, streamers can look at this pandemic year as having at least some silver linings in terms of being well-positioned to pick up subscribers. While Netflix are still the dominant figure in the market, with their stock recently overtaking Disney, the launch of Peacock this week will add to an already-crowded field for viewers.

The current uncertainty about when theaters will reopen, as well as other public events, is likely to see these streaming figures continue to grow through the rest of 2020, too. Perhaps someone will even finally achieve the (almost certainly impossible) task of watching all the content on Netflix, although we’d hope for their sanity alone that this is a goal never to be reached.

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