COVID-19 impact on streaming services research

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world and with it the way we consume entertainment. At Jump, we used our access to data to conduct some initial research of the impact of COVID-19 on streaming services. The main goal of this research is to measure the impact of the lockdown on streaming services during the first half of 2020. We found some interesting peaks during this period. 

Some highlights of COVID-19’s  impact on streaming:

In brief, the highlights reveal a sharp increase in new users signing up to streaming service trials, a significant uptick in content consumed by existing users, yet a considerable reduction in trial-to-paying user conversion rates, a slight overall increase in churn rates and a substantial increase in hours consumed, led by Smart TVs.

With respect to new streaming service general consumers (paying and trial together), the numbers shot up 109% during the period. When we looked at how people are consuming this content, linear TV took a clear lead with a 287% consumption increase, followed by Subscription VOD (112%), and Transactional VOD (9%).

On the other hand, churn rates rose 20%, while conversion rates decreased considerably (-30%). Considering the 97% increase in the number of trial users in the first 2 quarters of 2020, the data clearly indicates that trial-to-paid conversion is an issue for streamers.

Total time spent streaming increased 124% between the last semester of 2019 and the first semester of 2020, with a 114% increase in playbacks and a 30% increase in “engaged users” (those consumers who actively used streaming services each month of the period analyzed). This data point shows a great opportunity for those video services willing to implement strategies to engage their audiences and increase retention during the coming months.

In terms of the devices used to watch content, iOS devices were the big winners in the smartphone category, enjoying a 193% increase in viewing time. But smartphones were significantly outpaced by Smart TVs, which saw a phenomenal rise in viewing time of 283%, more than tripling the last semester of 2019 number, similar to the 281% in the Set-Top-Boxes consumption. This data point seems to make sense as people were spending more time than ever in their living rooms. during quarantine. It is also worth mentioning the impressive 95% increase in the Tablet consumption, possibly motivated by the Kids at home.

What’s our conclusion of the analysis? The general growth in streaming consumption represents a great opportunity for video services, but they need to analyze their users’ behavior to understand what they really want. Streaming services need to leverage this understanding in order to adapt to the fast changing environment by personalizing their offerings to the specific needs of the users. The focus needs to be on increasing the conversion rates of those eager new trial users and retention of the increasingly engaged paying customer base.