Post-Pandemic Blues: 61% of Survey Respondents Say They’re Not Returning to Movie Theaters

With several coronavirus vaccines coming to market, moviegoers should soon return to theaters in huge numbers, right? No so fast, according to new data from one research firm that found 61% of respondents plan on watching new movies via streaming services, rather than going to the cineplex post pandemic.

The survey was conducted Jan. 4 online using Survey Monkey among a national sample of 867 adults, spanning across U.S. geographic regions, income levels, gender and age.

“With mass vaccination on the horizon, it’s important to track which pandemic habits will become the new norm,” Chris Loretto, EVP of Adtaxi, said in a statement. “The meteoric rise of streaming appears to be one clear case, with huge implications for the future of movie theaters, content production and digital marketing.”

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Among the survey’s findings related to broader streaming habits: When asked whether streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have made movie theaters obsolete, 49% of respondents said yes.

Streaming services were the #1 source for default TV viewing with 47% of respondents. Second place went to Cable TV (24%), followed by traditional TV (11%).  This year, 19% of respondents plan to add additional streaming services on top of their current subscriptions.

Another 28% of respondents say they cancelled a cable subscription in favor of streaming in 2020, while 31% of those with cable say they plan to cut the cord in favor of streaming in 2021.

While 62% of respondents moving away from cable in favor of streaming are looking to save money, 48% say they want to watch on their own schedule, 41% say they like the option of binge watching and 30% say they want to avoid traditional TV commercials due to a lack of personal relevance.

“This data is a continuation of years-long consumer trends toward convenience, cost-efficiency and personalization in media consumption,” Loretto said. “Incidentally, the streaming platforms that are drawing in millions of consumers are also some of the most fertile ground for targeted and cost-efficient digital marketing. The key to resonating on these platforms will be a voice and strategy that is highly adaptable to changing circumstances and evolving preferences.”

Nielsen Rebooting Media Measurement Tools

TV ratings pioneer Nielsen Dec. 8 announced plans to launch a single, cross-media data analysis to drive more comparable and comprehensive metrics across all distribution platforms. Called Nielsen ONE, the new analysis will evolve the current metrics that underpin the more than $100 billion video advertising ecosystem using a phased approach. The company plans to launch the single measurement platform beginning in Q4 2022 with the intention to fully transition the industry to cross-media metrics by the Fall 2024 season.

Nielsen data shows that between March and August 2020, U.S. adults spent 12.2 trillion minutes with digital, 11.1 trillion minutes with linear TV and 2.8 trillion minutes streaming video — and these numbers continue to grow exponentially. As audiences move between linear, streaming and digital, Nielsen contends advertisers are demanding a single, de-duplicated view of their audiences across all platforms and mediums. Concurrently, publishers want to provide more ad options for buyers and improve the overall viewer experience.

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“With Nielsen ONE, we are delivering a single, comparable metric for TV and digital that will provide video consumption across all platforms, services and devices,” COO Karthik Rao said in a statement. “For media buyers and sellers, this means better monetizing their assets and maximizing their investments. Today’s announcement marks a major milestone for Nielsen as we put our cross-media vision into motion.”

The new media measurement tool claims it will enable advertisers and publishers to transact using a single metric across linear and digital that is verifiable, independent and standardized across the industry. With a single number, marketers will have visibility into total video consumption regardless of platform or device. Marketers will also benefit from a better understanding of unique audiences, the ability to better understand frequency and reduce double counting, inflated metrics and advertising waste, according to Nielsen.

“Cross-media measurement is a generational opportunity and one of the hardest challenges that our industry has had to solve,” said Ben Jankowski, SVP of global media for Mastercard. “There are tough technology issues, but also a very real cultural shift that needs to happen that encourages broadcasters, platforms and marketers to work closely together to drive better productivity across the board.”

Nielsen has already begun transforming its audience measurement solutions to increase resilience and flexibility.  As previously announced, Nielsen said it is “future-proofing” its digital measurement, evolving its National TV charts to include addressable measurement and expanding Internet-connected TV coverage to include additional smart TV manufacturers and digital video platforms in 2021. Starting in Q4 2022, Nielsen will release cross-media ratings that it claims would deliver metrics at sub-minute intervals for individual ads and content. Nielsen expects this measurement will ultimately become the foundation of the cross-media buying and selling process, succeeding the current form of TV and digital measurement no later than the Fall 2024 season.

Report: Streaming Video Viewing Reaches All-Time High

Thanks to the coronavirus, online video is more popular than ever with the average global viewer watching nearly eight hours (seven hours, 55 minutes) per week, according to new data from Limelight Networks. With consumers homebound during the pandemic, video viewing increased 16% in the past year, according to the report commissioned to understand consumer perceptions and behaviors around online video.

The report — “State of Online Video 2020” — is based on online responses from 5,000 consumers in France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, ages 18 and older, who watch one hour or more of online video content each week.

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Top trends include:

  • Staying home drove streaming subscriptions. Nearly half (47%) of people worldwide subscribed to a new streaming service in the past six months, with the primary reason being that people are spending more time at home due to COVID-19 (40%). The second-largest driver of new subscription purchases (25%) is availability of new content.
  • Consumers are price cautious. Almost half (47%) of global consumers will cancel a streaming subscription due to high prices. More than a third (37%) admit to sharing login information or using someone else’s account. Password sharing is highest in Indonesia, with 58% of people admitting to sharing credentials.
  • User-generated content viewing surges. Watching user-generated content has doubled over the past year to an average of four hours per week. Google-owned YouTube continues to dominate as the most-preferred platform for watching user-generated content (65%), followed by Facebook (16%).
  • Buffering delays are a deal-breaker. Most people (64%) say they would be more likely to stream a live event if it is not delayed from live broadcast.

“Online video demand has clearly accelerated around the world this year, especially with so many people looking for entertainment, information and communication as they have spent more time at home due to COVID-19,” Nigel Burmeister, VP at Limelight Networks, said in a statement. “Our research shows that with the rise in viewers and subscriptions, it is critical that content providers have the right combination of the content consumers want, the infrastructure to scale to meet demand and technology to give them the best possible online experiences.”

Parks: Consumers Spend Seven Hours Weekly Streaming Online Video

It’s an over-the-top video world. Parks Associates July 1 said new data showed the number of hours per week consumers spend watching online video has almost doubled from 3.6 hours per week in 2017 to nearly seven hours per week in 2020. Dallas-based Parks said at the same time traditional pay-TV service has declined from an adoption rate of 75% to 62% in U.S. broadband households between Q1 2017 and Q1 2020, which led a subsequent decline in set-top box adoption.

“Consumer surveys find that 74% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to at least one streaming service, and almost half of domestic broadband households subscribe to two or more services,” contributing analyst Dr. Kenneth Wacks said in a statement.

Wacks said the top three domestic OTT subscription services remain Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. Newcomers Disney+ and Apple TV+ have grown quickly to round out the top five. Additional services of note include CBS All Access, Crackle, Fubo TV, BHO Not, Philo, Pluto TV, and Sling TV.

Parks said the OTT services allow households to access premium video content without a set-top box, forcing a change in the relationship between set-top box makers and cable/satellite operators. Content developers and networks are now streaming content directly to consumers or distributing through OTT service providers. In some cases, multiple-system operators (MSOs) are launching their own streaming devices or creating offerings similar to vMVPDs (virtual multichannel video programming distributors) with the goal of recapturing pay-TV cord-cutters or cord-nevers.

Parks contends the pay-TV set-top can remain viable if able to aggregate the variety of different streaming services coming into the households and present them in a personalized and attractive UI with voice and smart home controls for an improved consumer experience.

“The set-top box does have a role in this market, but it will have to adapt,” Wacks said.

Parks: Adoption of Standalone Broadband Service Increases 42% — Driven by Streaming Video

In an over-the-top video ecosystem, demand for high-speed Internet service, or broadband, continues to remain strong. New consumer research from Parks Associates finds the market for standalone Internet service (excluding pay-TV, telephone) rising from 34% in 2017 to 42% in 1Q 2020.

Parks found the average standalone broadband subscriber now pays $60 per month for service, which increased by 36% from 1Q 2012 to 3Q 2019, while payment for TV plus Internet services increased from $107 to only $127 over the same time period.

“Data speed is the primary driver of [average revenue per broadband user],” David Drury, research director, Parks Associates, said in a statement. “In other words, speed rather than the number of [value-added services] broadly determines ARPU levels, even though those with higher speeds also have a higher number of VAS.”


Coronavirus-related changes in the needs of broadband households indicated that many consumers are likely trying many VAS for the first time, particularly telehealth, video conference, and remote learning tools. The increase in consumer need for these services represents an enormous opportunity to grow these markets even after the crisis passes, according to Parks.

The research finds nearly one-half of U.S. broadband households receive at least one value-added service from their service provider, but these services are generally included at no additional cost. The most commonly adopted VAS are support, antivirus, streaming video, and Wi-Fi services. AT&T and Suddenlink by Altice subscribers have the highest number of VAS adopted overall, combining both free and paid services.

“Broadband growth has plateaued, so the next opportunity is in VAS,” Drury said. “Providers have generally used VAS as a marketing tool to attract and retain subscribers, so for them to make the transition to a revenue source, companies need a clear understanding of the gaps in consumer satisfaction and demand for strategic and successful VAS deployments.”

Peacock to Be Available on Vizio and LG Smart TVs at Launch in July

Peacock, NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, will be available on Vizio SmartCast TVs and LG smart TVs when it launches on July 15.

Consumers will be able to access Peacock through the LG smart TVs’ Home Launcher or the built-in application on the Vizio SmartCast home screen.

Peacock will offer a free tier featuring more than 7,500 hours of movies, shows, and live and on-demand programming across news, sports, reality and late night. Peacock Premium will also be available for $4.99 per month, featuring more than 15,000 hours of content. Viewers may also upgrade Peacock Premium to ad-free for an additional $5 per month.

“We want to provide fans of Peacock’s vast programming a choice of how and where they consume our content when we launch nationally next month, said Matt Bond, chairman, content distribution, NBCUniversal, in a statement. “Vizio and LG are great partners that will help provide these fans the viewing experience they’ve come to expect from us at NBCUniversal.”

“With increasing consumption on smart TVs, we are happy to make it easy for Peacock customers with Vizio and LG smart televisions to stream all our content,” Maggie McLean Suniewick, president of business development and partnerships for Peacock, said in a statement. “We offer Peacock as free to our distribution partners because we want people everyone to enjoy Peacock where and when they want it.”

Peacock original programming available at launch includes “Brave New World,” “The Capture,” “Intelligence” and “Lost Speedways”; sports documentary In Deep With Ryan Lochte; and the full-length film Psych 2: Lassie Come Home. Also available will be current season programming from NBC and Telemundo, access to hundreds of movies such as Jurassic Park, Do the Right Thing and Shrek; and shows including comedies “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock,” “Saturday Night Live,” “King of Queens,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Frasier,” “George Lopez,” “Psych,” “Monk” and “Cheers”dramas “Law & Order: SVU,” “Downton Abbey,” “Yellowstone,” “Friday Night Lights,” “House,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Parenthood,” “Heroes,” and kids programing including “Curious George,” “DreamWorks Where’s Waldo?” and “Cleopatra in Space.”

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Peacock customers will also enjoy daily programming highlights from “Today,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Meet the Press,” “Noticias Telemundo,” MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports, “E! News” and “Access Hollywood,” and dozens of streaming channels including clip-based channels such as Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers comedy sketches, sketches from the “SNL” vault, plus news channels from NBC News Now and Sky News, and genre channels such as True Crime, Reality Check-In and 80s Mix Tape.

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In April, Peacock’s early preview rolled out to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers at no additional cost. Peacock will also be bundled and included at no additional cost for eligible Cox Contour customers for national launch in July.

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.”

TiVo Bows Branded 4K Video Streaming Device

TiVo May 6 announced the retail availability of “TiVo Stream 4K,” a streaming media device that melds TV shows and movies from different platforms on one screen.

TiVo Stream 4K features live television from online TV pioneer Sling TV, in addition to direct access to 4K programming from Netflix and Prime Video (all requiring separate subscriptions and a 4K-compatible TV).

First unveiled at CES Las Vegas 2020, TiVo Stream 4K is now available at TiVo.com with an introductory price of $49.99 and a free 7-day trial of Sling TV for new subscribers.

‘TiVo 4K Stream’ device

“At a time when viewers are streaming more than ever across a sea of platforms, TiVo Stream 4K integrates content with recommendation and search features to make it easier to find,” TiVo CEO Dave Shull said in a statement. “[This] is symbolic of our company’s transformation from … DVR provider to a pioneer in the streaming market.”

TiVo Stream 4K features include integration with major streaming video services on the Google Play Store, eliminating the need to toggle between multiple apps to access TV shows, and with TiVo’s intuitive search options and intelligent recommendations, users can find titles and discover new shows within one interface.

TiVo Stream 4K users also have access to thousands of hours of free movies and TV shows as well as 49 free streaming channels across news, sports, kids, food, music and comedy.

The device includes Dolby Atmos sound and Dolby Vision HDR and plugs into existing HDMI ports on TVs and combined with a streamlined version of TiVo’s “peanut” remote control enabling conversational search.

“TiVo has taken search to the next level, making it more convenient for customers to take advantage of the value Sling TV offers,” said Warren Schlichting, group president, Sling.

Conviva: Global Streaming Video Up 20% During Pandemic

At a time when society has never been more digitally connected, countries around the globe are imploring their people to be socially distant. But in the age of connectedness, with options for news, entertainment, and friendships at the press of a button, the sacrifices are not nearly as harsh, according to new data from Conviva.

The coronavirus has had immediate impacts on consumption patterns and engagement across streaming and social media, with marked differences in the past month alone.

Conviva analyzed global streaming data from a 21-day period between March 3 and March 23, comparing the seven days ending March 23 with two weeks prior.

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Streaming skyrocketed on a global scale, increasing more than 20% compared to the previous two-week period, with North America streaming up nearly 27% in the same time period.

Primetime TV consumption shifted earlier as viewers watched throughout the day, rather than just during the evening hours. Daytime viewing jumped nearly 40% as compared to two weeks prior.

For better or worse, Facebook remains a leading platform for local news video registering the largest increase in viewing over the past 30 days, with an increase of 118% in average views per video and total video views up 247%.

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Twitter led social media engagement with 150%increase in average engagements per video for global news accounts and 196% increase in average engagements per video for local news accounts in the United States.]

“Television has long been a way to connect — a plugged-in friend when one might otherwise feel disconnected,” read the report. “In these dire times, we’ve seen many turning to their old friend in new ways. Staying home means tuning in — to get informed, pass the time, and stay connected.”

Conviva said the pandemic has offered a worldwide “reset” on the way people relate to each other.

“People will perhaps see their face-to-face relationships in a new light, but our ability to remain connected via social media is likely valued now more than ever,” the report said. “In the best of times, streaming and social media add value to our daily lives. In this moment, the choice of information or distraction is a welcome one. But either is the correct choice for those of us following the moral imperative to stay home.”

Comcast Pumping $2 Billion into Peacock Streaming Service

Comcast’s NBC Universal business unit next year launches Peacock, a branded subscription and ad-supported streaming video platform.

Peacock will be available for free (with ads) to Xfinity subscribers and for a fee to non-pay-TV subs.

Speaking Dec. 9 at the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York City, Mike Cavanagh, CFO of Comcast Corp., disclosed that the media company plans to spend upwards of $2 billion on original content and marketing over the first two years for the streaming service.

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Cavanagh said spending on Peacock would peak at 1% of Comcast revenue with the goal of breaking even within five years.

“We think we have a special opportunity [with Peacock],” Cavanagh said. “Clearly, advertising are going to be looking in this world for opportunities to reach new audiences.”

He said Comcast is replicating “the same mindset” it applied to launching Xfinity Mobile, the telecommunications business Cavanagh said it projected to break even by 2021.

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Comcast is holding an investor day event for Peacock on Jan. 16, 2020.