Advanced Television

Research: Pandemic drives spike in US OTT engagement

June 26, 2020

The OTT landscape in 2020 is rapidly changing as a result of the growth of OTT services, content and devices, as well as the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumer behaviour, according to the 2020 State of OTT report from cross-platform measurement specialist Comscore.

Using data from Comscore OTT Intelligence, the report offers insights for advertisers, OTT streaming services, and content owners and creators to understand changing audience habits in a dynamic space.

Key insights include:

  • There has been a spike in OTT engagement since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic that is holding steady for now. OTT consumption saw exceptional growth starting in early March 2020 through April 2020 and has since plateaued.
  • Consumption of OTT content grew by both total households and total hours. 69.8 million homes used OTT in April 2020, an increase of 5.2 million homes compared to April 2019. The average home viewed 102 hours of OTT content during that same month, an increase of 17 hours compared to April 2019.
  • Growth in reach of ad-supported services is outpacing that of non-ad-supported services, presenting a need and opportunity for advertising. Ad-supported services grew nine per cent when comparing April 2020 to January 2020. Non-ad-supported services grew only five per cent.
  • Total viewing hours increased 2.3 billion viewing hours across live TV, DVR, VoD, and OTT in April 2020 vs April 2019. Of this, OTT alone added 1.4 billion total viewing hours.
  • In April 2020, 21 per cent of CTV viewing households are cord cutters (households who cut the cord within the past five years), up three per cent from April 2019. Twenty-one percent are cord nevers (households with no cable/satellite subscription in the past five years), up three percent within the same time frame.
  • The use of pure-play virtual MVPDs to view OTT content has seen a 70 percent year-over-year growth between the three-month average of February through April 2019 and 2020.


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