Report: TV Viewing Declining in 2021

After a surge in overall media consumption, including TV viewing, during the height of the pandemic in 2020, consumers will continue record consumption — except via the TV.

In addition to digital, media consumption includes radio, television, print and packaged media.

New data from eMarketer found that the average daily time spent with media increased to a record 13 hours and 21 minutes in 2020 — up 58 minutes from 2019. That daily average is expected to decline by 9 minutes to 13 hours and 12 minutes in 2021.

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The report found that among U.S. adults, the daily average media consumption across digital devices will increase by 9 minutes a day in 2021 — even after adding more than an hour in 2020.

The surge in digital media means that the average time spent with traditional media will continue to decline. The data shows legacy media consumption will drop 5.7% this year, which eMarketer attributes to people spending less time watching traditional TV.

Indeed, the report found the average U.S. adult will spend 18 less minutes consuming traditional media this year — 16 minutes of which will come from declines in TV viewing time. U.S. adults will also spend slightly less time than last year listening to radio and consuming print media this year as well.

“Ultimately, 2020 was an anomalous year for TV,” wrote Audrey Shomer, author of the report. “The medium picked up minutes for the first time since 2012, as people spent more time watching TV news about the pandemic, U.S. elections and social unrest.

“This year, however, TV will reverse its 2020 growth and fall below 2019 levels. We expect that time spent watching TV will continue to contract: The average U.S. adult will spend another 15 minutes less with the medium in 2022, and 11 minutes less in 2023.”

Report: Pluto TV to Surpass $1 Billion in Ad Revenue by 2022

Pluto TV, the free ad-supported TV streaming service (FAST) owned and operated by ViacomCBS, is set to increase 2021 revenue nearly 78% to $786.7 million, according to new data from eMarketer. The research firm contends the platform will surpass $1 billion in revenue by 2022 — underscoring the rise in popularity of streaming media for marketers.

Citing third-party survey research, the report suggests 42% of ad buyers will use streaming video for the first time this year, with another 56% continuing the practice — which includes online and linear TV distributors. Indeed, the report found that a majority (60%) of AVOD/FAST ad revenue will come from linear TV, followed by digital display (37%) and other sources.

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Report: Netflix Takes Most U.S. SVOD Revenue

Netflix invented the subscription streaming video market in 2008. Thirteen years later the SVOD behemoth still dominates consumer spending on streaming video in the U.S., according to new data from eMarketer.

The research firm says Netflix, Disney and YouTube are the biggest benefactors of consumer spending on over-the-top video. In 2021, just under one-third (30.8%) of all U.S. OTT subscription revenue will go to Netflix. Disney will account for about one-fourth (25.9%) of SVOD revenue, and YouTube will account for 13.2%.

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The research firm says Netflix’s share of total OTT subscription revenues is declining, which is as a result of increased competition and market size, not service quality. As reported, Netflix had a record year in 2020, adding millions of North American subs in a saturated market. E-Marketer expects Netflix’s domestic subscription revenue to increase to $11.76 billion in 2021, up from $10.64 billion in 2020.

Unlike Netflix, YouTube and Disney each operate online television platforms YouTube TV and Hulu+Live TV, respectively, which skew revenue statistics, according to analyst Ross Benes.

“Even though [online TV] subscribers remain low compared with the most popular streaming products, the high fees of [virtual MVPDs] have a big impact on these companies’ subscription revenues,” Benes wrote.

Netflix Use Further Distanced YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ in 2020

Longtime online video champion YouTube saw usage dip behind Netflix in 2019 for the first time. The gap between the SVOD behemoth and Google-owned video platform expanded in 2020, according to new data from eMarketer. The average time spent daily on Netflix in the U.S. increased to 31 minutes, compared with 27 minutes on YouTube — up from 26 minutes and 25 minutes, respectively in 2019.

While daily use among Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ increased as well, they all lagged significantly behind perennial leader Netflix.

Amid the pandemic, U.S. adults spent 1 hour more per day on digital activities (across all devices) than they did in 2019, according to eMarketer. Total digital time is now on track to surpass 8 hours daily by the end of 2022.

Separate data from J.D. Power found that the average U.S. home increased the number of SVOD subscriptions to four from three in early 2020 — upping monthly spending to $47 from $38 in 2019.

In 2020, U.S. adults spent 7 hours, 50 minutes (7:50) per day consuming digital media, up 15% from 6:49 in 2019, the biggest increase since 2012. It’s also considerably higher than eMarketer’s Q1 2020 projection (7:31).

Digital time accounted for 57.5% of adults’ daily media time in 2020, and that figure will reach 60.2% by 2022.

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“Connected TVs and video game consoles are the main beneficiaries of the cord-cutting trend due to increases in the number of subscription OTT and ad-free VOD users and content offerings,” forecasting analyst Zach Goldner said in a statement.

  • Social Network Time: 1:05, up from 56 minutes in 2019
  • Digital Video Time: 2:13, up from 1:46 in 2019


“As normalcy returns in 2021, overall digital consumption will hold all of last year’s gains,” Goldner said. “Desktop/laptop time will return to negative growth this year, but smartphone time will more than make up the difference.”

Smartphones are driving a significant portion of adults’ total digital time. In fact, smartphone time surpassed 3 hours for the first time in 2020 (3:13), up from 2:45 in 2019.

Looking ahead, growth in digital time will continue, albeit at much smaller rates. U.S. adults’ daily digital time will gain another 7 minutes in 2021 to 7:57. It will then surpass 8 hours (8:02) in 2022 for the first time.


Report: Global E-commerce Reached $4 Trillion in 2020

Despite a challenging 2020 for retail during the pandemic, new data from eMarketer suggests that worldwide retail e-commerce sales posted a 27.6% growth rate for the year, with sales reaching well over $4 trillion. That tally is projected to reach $5 trillion in 2022.

This represents a substantial uptick from the research firm’s mid-pandemic assessment that global e-commerce would decelerate to 16.5% growth and demonstrates the remarkable extent to which consumers have transitioned to e-commerce.

Even as total worldwide retail sales declined by 3% and recessionary conditions set in around the world, e-commerce managed to perform above pre-pandemic expectations in 2020.

eMarketer forecasts that worldwide growth in 2021 will be 14.3%, which is a relatively low number compared with 20.2% growth in 2019 and last year’s 27.6%, but it still represents $611 billion in additional e-commerce sales. Even as total worldwide retail sales declined and recessionary conditions set in around the world, e-commerce managed to perform above pre-pandemic expectations in 2020.

As recently as 2018, worldwide e-commerce sales had not yet topped $3 trillion. The report estimates that $4 trillion was easily breached in 2020, $5 trillion will be achieved by 2022, and $6 trillion will be reached by 2024. In 2020, 18% of all retail sales took place via e-commerce. In 2024, that figure will reach 21.8%.

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“We anticipate that consumers will maintain many of their newfound digital behaviors in 2021,” Ethan Cramer-Flood, analyst at Insider Intelligence, said in a statement.

Cramer-Flood contends that with so much e-commerce growth fast-tracked in 2020 — and with a full year of relatively normalized brick-and-mortar commerce — 2021’s e-commerce growth rate will decelerate to some degree, despite enduring consumer enthusiasm.


2020 Retail Winners: E-Commerce, Consumer Electronics

To say online shopping boomed in 2020 would be an understatement,, especially during a pandemic. The trend toward e-commerce isn’t new. It’s been a reality of retail for awhile as stores big and small embrace transacting over the Internet as a means of dealing direct with the consumer and better competing against Amazon.

New data from eMarketer suggests that lost pre-pandemic spending on restaurants, bars, salons, travel, live events, movie theaters, etc., contributed to a $100 billion uptick in e-commerce spending, notably on consumer electronics.

In January, eMarketer forecast total e-commerce sales would reach $675 billion in 2020. Now, that estimate is closer to $795 billion.

Consumer electronics were particularly well suited to serve the needs of a population suddenly stuck at home managing unexpected work, school and leisure time. Online CE sales are tracking toward $179.3 billion, up from pre-pandemic estimate of $150.1 billion.

“That’s $29.3 billion in unanticipated online spending on devices to help us work, learn, [entertain] and play from home,” analyst Ethan Cramer-Flood wrote in a Dec. 29 note.

Indeed, tech spending on hardware and services during the 2020 holiday season (October-December) is projected to reach $135 billion in revenue in the United States — a 10% increase from a year ago, according to the Consumer Technology Association.

Projected top-selling CE devices over the holidays include smartphones, laptops, next-generation video game consoles, TVs and wearables.

“The 2020 holiday season will bring economic, safety and political unknowns — but the consumer desire to give and receive technology gifts is certain,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of market research at CTA. “With consumers forgoing budgets for travel and experiences this year, more dollars will go towards technology gifts that support connection, productivity, health and home entertainment, as technology has been a critical asset to so many during the ongoing pandemic.”

Perhaps no CE retailer has better adapted to the pandemic than Best Buy, which saw a near 174% increase in e-commerce revenue and entertainment in the most-recent fiscal quarter. The nation’s largest CE retailer was quick to offer online purchases with curbside pick-up during the early days of the pandemic.

The chain’s entertainment segment, which includes products such as DVD/Blu-ray Disc movies, video game hardware and software, books, music CDs and computer software, saw same-store sales increase 17.5% compared with a 20.8% decline during the previous-year period. The division generated 5% of domestic revenue, or $542.5 million, compared with $448.2 million last year.

Domestic online revenue of $3.82 billion increased 173.7% on a comparable basis, and as a percentage of total domestic revenue, online revenue increased to approximately 35.2% versus 15.6% in 2019.

CEO Corie Barry said the pandemic has underscored Best Buy’s purpose to “enrich lives through technology,” and the capabilities the chain is “flexing and strengthening” to benefit sales going forward.

Report: Disney+ Tops 72 Million U.S. Monthly Viewers in 2020

Disney announced on Dec. 2 that its branded subscription service had reached 86.8 million subs, with 30%, or 26 million, originating from India. Now, new estimates from eMarketer contend the service will end 2020 with 72.4 million monthly viewers in the U.S.

The New York-based research film remains bullish on Disney over the next four years, suggesting 33% of the U.S. population will use Disney+ by 2024. Of course industry behemoth Netflix will top all domestic services with more than 182 million projected U.S. viewers, followed by Amazon Prime Video with 154 million. eMarketer registers a viewer as anyone who streams a service via app or website at least once a month.

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“So far, other streaming entrants suffered from distribution limitations, confusing branding (HBO Max), or a lack of quality programming (Peacock),” Ross Benes, senior analyst with eMarketer, wrote in a note. “None of these problems have hampered Disney+, which will become the third-most-popular U.S. streaming service by the end of 2024.”


Report: Pandemic Fuels Social Media Entertainment

The coronavirus pandemic has proved to be boost for more than subscription and ad-supported VOD as millions of people stayed home for weeks or months entertained by social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

A new report from eMarketer found that in 2020 there were nearly 150 million more social network users worldwide than previously projected. Social media users topped 3.23 billion this year as nearly 81% of Internet users worldwide were classified as social network users.

China reportedly is home to the world’s largest population of social network users — about 889.5 million people and 97.3% of all Internet users. That’s up 7% compared with 2019. eMarketer had projected 4.8% growth in 2020, which it said translates to more than 58 million new social network users in China in 2020.

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Among social networking platforms, eMarketer said Facebook would continue to dominate globally through the end of 2024. It remains the only platform used by more than half (59%) of the world’s social networking population. The pandemic has helped to revitalize a relatively sluggish platform, which will post 8.7% growth in global user numbers in 2020. Facebook’s total user numbers will surpass 1.90 billion — about 100 million more than eMarketer projected. Interestingly, Facebook is losing users in Germany and Japan.

Facebook-owned Instagram saw the biggest percentage increase of any platform worldwide, increasing its user base by 22.9%. The total number of users exceeded 1 billion for the first time in 2020.

Snapchat saw its global user base increase by 16.1%, which eMarketer attributed to ongoing issues surrounding social video competitor TikTok — the latter now banned in India.

While a mainstay in the U.S. and for President Trump, Twitter is used much less than Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, according to eMarketer. The research firm pegs 8.4% growth for Twitter in 2020, contending growth is largely due to to the platform’s “starring role” as a source for up-to-the-minute, bite-sized news and opinions in a year that has been “highly volatile politically, socially and economically.”

Report: Disney+ (and Hulu) to Catch Netflix by 2022 in Revenue

Since the beginning of subscription streaming video, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu have shadowed market pioneer Netflix from afar. New data from eMarketer suggests upstart Disney+ (with Hulu) will significantly bridge Netflix’s lead in the next 24 months.

Following a strong launch in November 2019, Disney+ is on track to surpass $4 billion in U.S. subscription revenue by 2022. In its first full year, Disney+ has grown rapidly, spurred by original content and stay-at-home government pandemic orders. In fact, the service will help Disney reach Netflix’s share of the market by 2022.

Netflix ended its most recent fiscal period with 195 million subscribers worldwide. Disney+ had 86.8 million subs through Dec. 2; Disney+ and Hulu had a combined 125.6 million.

Disney+ revenue is projected to reach $1.94 billion by the end of this year. With a recently announced $1 price increase next year, it will add another billion in revenue in each of the next two years. That figure will jump to $4.23 billion by 2022. As of this year, Disney+ represents 26.5% of Disney’s OTT revenue, with Hulu accounting for 67.6% and ESPN+ making up 5.8%.

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Disney+, combined with Hulu—which Disney acquired in 2019 from partners Comcast and Fox—will cement Disney as the No. 2 streaming player in subscription revenues this year. By 2022, its revenue will be nearly equal—$12.95 billion for Netflix and $12.36 billion for Disney.

“Hit shows like ‘The Mandalorian,’ Disney’s vast library, key distribution deals, and a massive marketing push drove strong initial growth in subscribers,” analyst Eric Haggstrom said in a statement. “It’s expected to continue to grow off that base as it ramps up content releases and brings some movies straight to the service, instead of a theatrical release in some cases.”

Meanwhile, the entire subscription U.S. OTT pie continues to expand rapidly. Total revenue for the sector will jump 29.9% next year to $38.15 billion, and climb another 19.4% in 2022.

The report is quick to point out that growth of Disney+ translates to equal opportunity for Netflix as the subscription streaming landscape continues to expand.

“The good news for dominant player Netflix is that while new services like Disney+ have had successful launches, many consumers have been simply stacking services together,” Haggstrom said.

Analyst: Pay-TV Cord-Cutting Increasing

While cord-cutting among linear pay-TV households isn’t new, the pace of disruption is. New data from eMarketers found that U.S. pay-TV households dropping service will increase 7.5% in 2020, resulting in a market size of 77.6 million households. Previous data had pay-TV households dropping to 80.5 million. The data excludes online TV services such as Sling TV, AT&T TV, Philo and YouTube TV, among others.

The firm estimates that the number of households dropping pay-TV service combined with households that have never had a subscription, will increase to 51.7 million from 48.9 million.

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“The pandemic increased pay-TV losses because it tightened consumers’ wallets and caused the cancellation of live sporting events, which are one of the main draws of cable and satellite operators,” Ross Benes with eMarketer wrote in the report. “Pay-TV providers have also cut back on some of their promotional pricing to sustain profitability. But as prices increased, so did cord-cutting.”

Benes found that when including online TV with pay-TV, household declines looked “slightly less dire.” This year, 86.1 million U.S. households will have pay TV/online TV, a 5.9% year-over-year decrease, which translates to 66% of households having combined service.

2020 will end with 10 million U.S. households having online TV service, up from 9.5 million in 2019. When these products first launched several years ago, they were sold at a discount to attract new customers. But with TV affiliate fees growing, online TV prices have significantly increased, eroding one of their main advantages over traditional TV, according to Benes.

He wrote that while adding or dropping online TV service is much easier than traditional pay-TV, eroding price advantages between the two is hurting online TV market growth.

“When analyzed this way, the number of cord-cutters and cord-nevers combined will not surpass the number of pay-TV/online TV viewers this year,” Benes wrote. “However, their paths are converging, and most of the customers leaving traditional TV are not replacing it with online TV.”