Limelight: COVID-19 Driving Streaming Video Surge

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to change how they work, learn, access information, connect with one another and their entertainment options. Streaming is at the forefront of this new normal with consumers worldwide now engaging with online video for an average of four hours and three minutes every day, according to new data from Limelight Networks.

The company said that with people quarantining in their homes, online video is enabling new forms of interactive entertainment to pass the time. With traditional sports leagues on hold, nearly 31% of survey respondents have had their first e-sports experience during the pandemic. With live events cancelled, 44% of respondents attended their first virtual concert. Exercising is also going virtual as athletic facilities remain closed. In fact, 31% have participated in an online fitness class and another 24% plan to in the next six months.

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Limelight’s data is based on responses from 5,000 consumers ages 18 and older in France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Scandinavia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States who watch one hour or more of online video each day.

Other findings include 89% of respondents now using video chat to feel more connected, up from 61% prior to COVID-19. Most people (70%) have used online video to stay informed by watching live stream speeches and press conferences during the pandemic — 44% live streamed on news sites and 26% live streamed on social media. Even Baby Boomers (63%) tune into live streamed news and information online.

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As the pandemic has forced consumers to work remotely, 79% of people agree that online video equips them to maintain daily activities. About 33% of respondents are working from home for the first time and say online video helps them stay connected to colleagues (24%) and work more efficiently (36%). More than half (58%) have or plan to use online video for professional development or to learn a new skill. Most people (83%) believe video-based learning will continue in the post-COVID world.

The pandemic has sparked a rapid increase in telehealth across the globe. More than one fifth (22%) of people have recently met with their doctor virtually. This trend is expected to last beyond the pandemic with another quarter (27%) of global respondents planning to hold telehealth appointments in the next six months. Telehealth usage is highest for India where 81% of respondents have met or plan to meet with their doctor virtually.

“The pandemic has pushed the bounds of online video,” Mike Milligan, senior director of product and solution marketing at Limelight Networks, said in a statement. “Many people turned to online video to connect with others and maintain daily activities during the pandemic, but it won’t stop once quarantine is over. Our report emphasizes that online video will remain an important part of our lives in the new normal.”

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