Research: Smart TV & streaming stick usage surges

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As millions of Americans adjusted to working from home and having to practice distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, research from Comscore shows engagement with streaming services and year-on-year in-home data usage surged in the beginning of May 2020.

When it comes to viewing entertainment through devices like streaming boxes/sticks and smart TVs, the ‘big five’ (Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Disney, Hulu) streaming services still account for the majority of total OTT hours streamed at home – upwards of 80 per cent.

Over the last two months, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ saw growth in share of streaming hours through the week of May 11th versus February 3rd. While Disney+ currently holds a smaller share of streaming hours among the ‘big five’, it is nearly two times larger than the next video-oriented OTT app offering in terms of streaming hours.

Disney+ grew during the pandemic when looking at growth relative to its previous share. Some of the growth is likely related to content released to the streaming platform, such as the straight-to-VoD release of the movie Onward which landed on Disney+ in the US on April 3rd.


Other key points included:

  • According to Comscore’s Total Home Panel data, average in-home data consumption was up 33 per cent during the first ten days of May 2020 compared to the first ten days of May 2019 (May 1st – 10th 2020 versus May 1st – 10th 2019). This follows 28 per cent and 36 per cent year-over-year increases in March and April 2020, respectively. Smart TVs (+60 per cent), mobile phones (+47 per cent), streaming boxes/sticks (+39 per cent), and smart speakers (+35 per cent) are driving the year-over-year growth trends.
  • In-home data usage remained strong through the week of April 20th 2020 but began to decline in recent weeks, possibly due to some states easing their social distancing protocols.

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