U.S. Viewers Spent 116% More Time Streaming SVOD Content on Social Video Platforms in 2020

In the highly competitive subscription streaming video market, services are using social media to engage viewers, entice subscribers and remain out front among targeted consumers.

New research from Tubular Labs, a social video analytics firm, found a 116% uptick in minutes streamed via social media among the Top 10 SVOD platforms through January with 932 million minutes, compared with 432 million minutes in February 2020 — ahead of the pandemic.

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Not surprisingly, SVODs excel at younger audience reach on social video, with 67% of top platforms’ audience between 13 and 34 years old, while only 54% of audience for top traditional TV broadcasters fall into this younger audience bucket.

The report found that Netflix diversifies its social video content more than any other SVOD, featuring longer content trailers, special behind-the-scenes content, interviews, clip compilations and talent snippets.

Tubular found that Netflix generated 93.2 million unique viewers in the U.S. across social media platforms in January — a tally that dwarfed runner-up Disney+ with 21.8 million and Amazon Prime Video with 19.9 million. Netflix’s tally is impressive considering the SVOD pioneer only has 67.5 million subs in the United States.

For example, Netflix’s award-winning series “The Queen’s Gambit,” a major hit in 2020, generated 46% of its viewership through social media searches on Facebook. About 11.7 million viewers were generated by social media influencers, including sketch artists illustrating lead actress Anya Taylor-Joy, and the chess community turned on its ear by the sudden cultural popularity; followed 6.6 million driven by media attention, i.e. TV talk shows, trade publications, etc., and 300,000 via brand recognition. The majority (21.9 million views) came from Netflix subscriptions.

The “nostalgia route” was a popular marketing strategy during the pandemic with content that reflected older/familiar movies and TV shows used most by Netflix and Disney+. Beyond subtitled or dubbed trailers, Disney+ expanded its international reach significantly in the past year,  with local channels and a social video strategy adapted to local markets. Indeed, more than 30% of Disney’s 101 million global SVOD subscribers come from India.