OTT Plays Spike During Coronavirus Outbreak

(Image credit: NPAW)

NEW YORK—The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is changing behavior around the world—from observing the newly coined term of “social distancing” and self-quarantines to frequent handwashing and fighting the urge to touch one’s face.

The outbreak, which has seen entire countries and states mandate lockdowns, is also giving people much more time to stream their favorite TV shows, news, movies and other content, and the figures are beginning to come in to prove it.

A new blog from Nice People At Work (NPAW), a company specializing in business intelligence tools for online video providers, “How COVID-19 Is Changing Online Streaming Behavior Globally,” discusses the early effect of the pandemic on viewing audiences in hard-hit locales.

The NPAW data revealed that in the United States streaming of all content climbed 73% between Feb. 25 and March 22. Further, when comparing the week of March 16-22 to a typical week, U.S. streaming plays rose 29%. The blog notes increases in plays in California, New York and Illinois—three states on lockdown—by 39%, 24% and 35%, respectively. 

News and religious content saw big boosts in plays. For example, streamed news content plays in Italy climbed 48% on Feb. 25 compared to the day before with the biggest increases in Milan and Rome, according to the blog.

On Sunday, March 15, there was an increase of as much as 300% in religious content compared to previous weeks. The increased interest in religious content may have stemmed from viewers looking for comfort in a time of need and the fact that many may have turned to streaming content as an alternative to attending church services in person, reducing the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19.

To read the blog, visit the NPAW website.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.