More Than 25% of Consumers Added at Least One Streaming Service During Pandemic

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BOSTON—The latest study of consumer habits during the pandemic, and what may remain afterward, from Hub shows that 28% of consumers report having signed up for at least one new streaming service since February, before the pandemic began.

The big four streaming platforms—Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+—all had at least a three point growth during that time frame in terms of percentage of consumers that say they subscribe to the service. Hulu saw the biggest growth (25% to 33%), followed by Amazon Prime Video (38% to 44%). Netflix and Disney both saw a three percentage point growth—from 60% to 63% for Netflix and 29% to 32%.

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Hub identified three key reasons for why consumers turned to these services while sheltering at home: they offer exclusive shows, provide value for money and have a deep library of content.

The habit of watching streaming TV is expected to continue for many consumers after the pandemic. While 40% of consumers said they were watching more streaming TV because of the pandemic, 19% said that habit will continue after the pandemic; only spending more time outdoors and shopping online had higher responses.

Streaming hasn’t been the only TV segment that saw a positive growth during the pandemic. Hub found that video on-Demand—both over pay-TV and online—has increased. The number of people watching VOD from an MVPD weekly went up from 46% in February to 52% as of July. Buying or renting PPV movies went up from 19% to 26%, while buying or renting PPV TV shows went up from 18% to 25%.

Also, people are finding new content to watch through advertising and previews. As of October 2019, word of mouth/social was the biggest factor in people finding new content (31%), advertising drove 29% of respondents and previews was just 9%. But as of July, despite a dip, advertising has taken over as the biggest draw with 27% saying it leads them  to new TV shows. Previews saw an increase to 15%, while word of mouth has dropped to 25%.

The increase of viewing traditional broadcasts is another habit that will stick around for a number of consumers as well. Hub found 13% of respondents said they plan to continue to watch the same amount of broadcast news post-pandemic, and 12% plan to watch as much broadcast nets in general.

“When it comes to the business of entertainment, people clearly intend to continue supporting the streaming TV services they’ve relied on for comfort viewing, the broadcast networks they’ve relied on for news and the online videos they’ve used for distractions,” said Peter Fondulas, co-founder and principal of Hub Entertainment Research.

For more information on Hub’s “Predicting the Post-Pandemic” report, visit Hub’s website