Apr 1, 2020 - Economy

Streaming spikes during coronavirus

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Nielsen; Chart: Axios Visuals

Streaming video has shot up dramatically in the U.S. over the past month, as more people turn to their screens for comfort during the nationwide coronavirus.

Why it matters: The pandemic has changed user behavior to promote more binge-watching, a habit that's likely to stay after the crisis concludes.

Driving the news: Americans (over the age of 2) streamed 85% more minutes of video in March 2020 compares to March 2019, according to a new report from Nielsen.

  • In total, Americans streamed 156 billion minutes of television during the last week of March, compared to 115 billion during the last week of February.

Binge viewing, according to Hulu, which is defined as watching 3+ episodes in the same session, has grown more than 25% over the past two weeks vs. the two weeks prior.

Details: Netflix had the biggest share of streaming minutes during the last week of March with 29%, followed by YouTube at 20%, Hulu at 10% and Amazon at 9%.

  • But over the past few weeks, Netflix grew the least amount in percentage of total streaming compared to other companies.

Yes, but: Netflix still had 9 of the top 10 most-streamed pieces of programming March 9-15, per Nielsen, including "Spenser Confidential" followed by "The Office" in the top two spots.

Be smart: Nielsen's rankings mirror findings from Hulu out earlier this week that suggest that viewers have gravitated toward comedies and "comfort" TV shows, like sitcoms, reality television and cartoons.

  • HBO says that it's seen expected viewership gains amongst its original series, as well as films and some documentaries.

The big picture: The uptick in streaming video reflects a greater consumption in media overall as people are stuck inside their homes, per Nielsen.

What to watch: Older demographics that aren't typically streaming as much as younger generations are streaming more television than their younger counterparts right now.

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