Parks: 76% of U.S. Broadband Homes Subscribe to OTT Service

With many parts of the country under quarantine measures due to the coronavirus, new data from Parks Associates finds that about six million households added high-speed Internet service in the first quarter (ended March 31).

In a survey of 10,000 respondents from March 8 and April 3, Dallas-based Parks found 76% of domestic broadband households subscribe to an over-the-top video service, with adoption of online pay-TV services such as YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV up 12%.

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“We are closely tracking shifts in technology use at home, as shelter-in-place orders have continued as a result of COVID-19,” research director Steve Nason said in a statement. “Consumers are experimenting with watching video on different services and different devices.”

Nason contends consumer sampling of services (i.e., free trials) could lead to reduced spending per month on SVOD services combined, a boost in ad-based VOD services, and shifts in what content consumers are watching.

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Separate data tracking from subsidiary Reelgood of 4.8 million OTT users from March 16 to April 26 found that during widespread stay-at-home mandates, viewers flocked to Netflix, with the most popular shows being “Ozark,” “Money Heist, and “Tiger King.” The most popular movie was Parasite.

In a time of uncertainty, genres such as comedy, faith and spirituality and kids upped viewership with slight declines in horror, war and crime.

Parks said the TV show “Doctor Foster” and the movie Silver Linings Playbook had the most significant jumps in popularity from pre-COVID (February 17 to March 15) to post-COVID (March 16 to April 26).

“One of the biggest shifts — and opportunities — that we’re noticing is the massive spike in children’s content available to stream,” said Catharine Burhenne, head of marketing at Reelgood.

Burhenne says entertainment businesses thriving during the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 eras will be the ones that can cater their offerings to accommodate the huge appetite for streaming kids content.

“Tubi’s launch of their Tubi Kids app is an example of businesses capitalizing on this opportunity,” she said.

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