streaming video content catalog consumption

How is the current global crisis affecting streaming video entertainment?

To state the obvious, TV consumption and streaming video will get a big bump with the current pandemic leaving millions of people housebound.

When consumers stay at home, their media consumption rises nearly 60% — and even more in some cases, according to a Nielsen data analysis. This is now occurring in an environment where media consumption in the U.S. is already at historical highs. Americans already spend just shy of 12 hours each day on media platforms. What’s more, three-fourths of U.S. consumers are broadening their media options with streaming subscriptions and TV-connected devices.

TV and video streaming consumption data

Consumers who stay indoors during major crises gravitate toward watching feature films, news, and general format programming, per the research firm.

The same study reveals that TV viewing among employees who work remotely during a typical Monday-Friday workweek watch over three hours more each week compared to in-office workers.

Moreover, and also resulting from coronavirus “home-confinement,” some countries have warned that networks could be oversaturated due to their being massively used during the quarantine period. In a joint press release, Spanish telecommunications companies — Movistar, Orange, Vodafone, MásMóvil and Euskaltel — said that “the IP networks are experiencing a 40 percent rise in traffic, whereas the use of mobile voice is rising 50 percent and data 25 percent.”

They are urging viewers to be responsible when using Netflix and similar streaming services and to use them at night. They have also recommended not to download unnecessary files or videos. Some telcos are comping more broadband data and TV options in packages during the COVID-19 quarantine.

streaming video content catalog consumption

This will also very likely speed up telecom infrastructure improvements and 5G adoption.

In addition, coronavirus has nudged movie studios to change the rules of the game. Universal Pictures announced last Monday that they are bringing forward the streaming release of film premieres, cutting short the planned (and standard) exclusive release window for theaters.

This is an unusual decision given that Hollywood majors have been fighting for more than two years against Netflix’s attempts to concurrently release premieres in theatres and over streaming instead of premiering exclusively in theatres.  Will this become a standard once the crisis ends? I’d bet yes, to some extent.

It seems the virus is dramatically changing the landscape for many sectors, and the streaming industry is undoubtedly one of the few to benefit.

The spread of coronavirus along with its economic impact (we are likely looking at a recession in the coming months) will certainly be felt across the entertainment industry and will probably heighten competition among traditional players, niche content providers, main stream sports video services, and the rest of the content players. This will mean that differentiation is needed more than ever if service video businesses are to survive, let alone succeed.

It is difficult to predict the long-term impacts of coronavirus on the media industry because nobody knows when things will return to normal. The extent of the disruption will probably depend on the type of content that media companies produce and distribute, the new content window re-configuration, new infrastructure, and if consumers’ new at-home habits persist after the crisis ends.


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