TV Viewers Take Advantage of More Streaming Choices During Pandemic

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BOSTON—The coronavirus pandemic has impacted not only what viewers are watching during widespread shutdowns, it is also bringing more diversity to their choices. These are the conclusions of research firm Hub’s annual “Best Bundle” study that analyzes consumers’ TV viewing habits. 

Not surprisingly, subscriptions to streaming services have jumped over the past year with more than 75% of respondents reporting that they have at least one online streaming subscription, up 6% from 2019. The biggest impact has been the debut of Disney+ which counts for nearly 1/3 of all TV subscriptions, less than six months since its November 2019 launch.  

Netflix remains the king of subscription streaming, but Amazon and Hulu have seen the biggest year over year increases, according to Hub.

(Image credit: Hub)

Hub’s study also distinguishes viewer behavior among respondents who said they are self isolating at home with kids and those who are not self isolating at home and do not have kids. Among households who are self isolating without kids, 82% have at least one subscription, and among those self isolating with kids, the rate jumps to 94%. The percentage of respondents who have at least one streaming subscription but say they are “not” self isolating and don’t have kids at home is much lower, at around 60%. 

(Image credit: Hub)

Among those who say they are self isolating at home, the average number of individual TV services they’re accessing is seven, Hub said. 

“There’s no shortage of recent studies demonstrating that consumers are watching more television as they shelter at home,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. “What our study shows is exactly where they’re turning to fill their newly found viewing time—primarily to streaming services that offer a combination of exclusive originals, family-friendly titles and older shows that can provide a bit of nostalgic solace during this unprecedented and stressful time.”

The data cited here comes from Hub’s “The Best Bundle” study, conducted among 2,000 US consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least one hour of TV per week. The data was collected in April 2020.

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.