With movie theaters shut and no restaurants open, it comes as no surprise that Americans are turning to online streaming services to keep themselves entertained while social distancing.
ExpressVPN has surveyed 1,200 American adults currently confined at home to understand their entertainment habits and preferences. The results found that 33 percent of Americans ranked streaming as the most important digital service during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Social media apps are also crucial for isolated Americans, with 21% of survey respondents rating them as their go-to option for entertainment. 17% picked online shopping, while 13% stated video conferencing solutions like Zoom and Google Hangouts were the most important.
Streaming services help Americans combat the lockdown blues
Anxiety is never far away during these unsettling times, but streaming services have emerged as an option for Americans to keep their spirits up.
Twenty-three percent of surveyed Netflix subscribers said the platform helped boost their mental health. Couples self-isolating together found Netflix to be a source of comfort too; 17% of survey respondents stated that without the app, it is likely that their relationship would have suffered.
In an indicator of the immense popularity of streaming platforms, 21% of Netflix subscribers revealed they would rather shut themselves off from the outside world than give up the app.
Most Americans subscribe to more than one streaming service
Streaming media usage has witnessed a stratospheric increase since the shelter-in-place orders began in March 2020. Major providers such as Disney+, Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV+, and Amazon Prime have had to limit their bandwidth usage in the EU to alleviate stress on cloud infrastructure caused by an increase in subscribers.
ExpressVPN’s survey results corroborate the increase in streaming media consumption. 40% of Netflix subscribers said they signed up for additional streaming services since the start of the lockdown. The top 5 services in terms of popularity were Hulu (44%), Disney+ (35%), Amazon Prime Video (31%), YouTube TV (27%), and Apple TV+ (21%).
Despite life slowly turning back to what it was like before the pandemic, the uptick in cord-cutting behavior and shift to digital platforms is likely to continue. 31% said they are keen to subscribe to Comcast and NBC Universal’s new streaming service, Peacock, which is expected to launch on July 15 in the US.
The global live-streaming industry is on an upswing
ExpressVPN’s survey results are consistent with industry reports pointing to a vast uptick in live-streaming since the Covid-19 pandemic. Traffic on platforms such as Zoom and Twitch grew 45% between March and April, with the numbers up 99% year-on-year. Netflix declared that it had added 16 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, nearly double how much it grew during the same time last year.
“While consumers are trying out multiple new streaming services during the lockdowns, the real challenge comes in retaining consumers after they’ve signed up. A previous survey we did shows that at least a third of consumers are likely to cancel their subscriptions within six months,” said Harold Li, vice president, ExpressVPN.