COVID-19 impact on streaming services research

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world and with it the way we consume entertainment. At Jump, we used our access to data to conduct some initial research of the impact of COVID-19 on streaming services. The main goal of this research is to measure the impact of the lockdown on streaming services during the first half of 2020. We found some interesting peaks during this period. 

Some highlights of COVID-19’s  impact on streaming:

In brief, the highlights reveal a sharp increase in new users signing up to streaming service trials, a significant uptick in content consumed by existing users, yet only modest growth in trial-to-paying user conversion rates, and a slight overall increase in churn rates.  

With respect to new streaming service consumers, the numbers shot up 109% during the period. When we looked at how people are consuming this content, linear TV took a clear lead with a 130% consumption increase, followed by Free VOD (with 54%), Subscription VOD (40%), and Transactional VOD (12%).

On the other hand, churn rates rose 20%, while conversion rates inched up only 3%. Considering the 97% increase in number of trial users during the second quarter of the year, the data clearly indicates that trial-to-paid conversion is an issue for streamers.

Total time spent streaming increased 124% between 2020 Q1 and Q2, with a 114% increase in playbacks and a 30% increase in “engaged users” (those consumers who actively used streaming services each month of the period analyzed). This data point signals a great opportunity for those video services willing to implement strategies to engage their audiences and increase retention during the coming months.

 
In terms of the devices used to watch content, iOS devices were the big winners in the smartphone category, enjoying a 177% increase in viewing time. But smartphones were significantly outpaced by smart TVs, which saw a phenomenal rise in viewing time of 265%, more than doubling the 2020 Q1 number. This data point seems to make sense as people were spending more time than ever in their living rooms during quarantine. It is also worth mentioning the impressive 139% increase of consumption viewing time on the XBOX in comparison with the modest 12% rise seen by PlayStation. 

What’s our conclusion of the analysis? The general growth in streaming consumption represents a great opportunity for video services, but they need to analyze their users’ behavior to understand what they really want. Streaming services need to leverage this understanding in order to adapt to the fast changing environment by personalizing their offerings to the specific needs of the users. The focus needs to be on increasing the conversion rates of those eager new trial users and retention of the increasingly engaged paying customer base.