Nielsen's Streaming TV Update During COVID-19

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With consumers around the globe concerned about their health, their jobs, their loved ones, the financial situation and their personal freedoms during larger scale and longer-timed lockdowns, quarantines and isolation, the power and charm of entertainment exists to help take our collective minds off an unseen enemy.  That is the magic of it.  And perhaps there is no better platform for being stuck inside, powerless even, than streaming.  After all, streaming allows consumers to be fully in control, with the ability to watch when, what and how much they want and escape the news of the day.

A Nielsen analysis (.pdf available for download below) which leveraged Nielsen's Streaming Meter data, looked at how consumers are increasing their streaming consumption as more people shift to sheltering in place at the urging of health and local officials.  The increases are pronounced and continue to rise on a week-to-week basis among all viewers.

Some key insights:

  • U.S. consumers have continued to watch more streaming as COVID-19 has driven them to shelter in place and stay at home.  In fact, during the week of March 16, consumers watched over 156 billion minutes of streaming content, up from 115 billion the week of February 24, and more than double the comparable week the year prior.
  • While all the platforms have seen an increase in total streaming minutes viewed, the "other" bucket has seen a significant rise.  That is no real surprise considering Disney+ (which is not reported out just yet by Nielsen) is included in that bucket and this increase aligns with two factors: Kids and teens staying at home and Frozen 2dropping early.  So ... how is that homeschooling going?
  • Overall, the share of streaming on TVs among homes has increased at a steady clip nearly every week over the past four weeks and currently stands at 23% of all viewing being done on TVs as of the week of March 16.  During the same week a year ago it was 14%.
  • The Officeon Netflix is still a top show among streaming subscribers.  Dwight Schrute might have seen this all coming.

About Nielsen's Streaming Meter

Nielsen's Streaming Meter is a hardware augmentation to our existing meter.  It uniquely identifies internet streaming activity to the television.  The meter detects total streaming by provider (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, etc.).  Today the meter does not recognize non-streaming activities. Since the Streaming Meter is also coupled with the People Meter, it can report this information by age/gender demographic.  Streaming data is inclusive of high bandwidth events.  This means the actual moment when video is being passed through the broadband.

Written by Salvatore Tuzzeo Jr. of Nielsen Global Media.

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