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Study: COVID-19 Changes Streaming Habits and Subscription Needs, Especially for Families

Fern Siegel

New TV research from Hub’s “Best Bundle” study posits two reasons for changes in streaming trends: COVID-19 and Disney+ debut last November.

It’s no surprise that streamers have seen a spike in subscribers since 2019, given stay-at-home orders. Hub found more than three in four TV consumers subscribing to a streaming network.

But it drilled down to determine which streamers the public preferred.

The biggest jumps year-over-year are SVOD streamers, especially Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu. But with Disney+’s debut, the landscape has shifted. Hub found almost one-third of TV viewers polled subscribe to Disney+, no doubt, by its wildly popular “Star Wars” catalog and the success of “The Mandalorian,” coupled with sizable children’s content.

Even leaving the pandemic out of the equation, Hub found those without children who aren’t self-isolating still report six in 10 with at least one streaming subscription.

But that number jumps to 82 percent among those who are self-isolating. Those self-isolating with children hit 94 percent for streaming use.

Families sheltered at home are mega-consumers of TV, accessing, on average, more than seven individual TV services.

Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study, stated: “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 study was conducted among 2,000 U.S. consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week. The data was collected in April 2020. 

Photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash