Research: Covid accelerates shift from linear TV to OTT

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Brightcove, the video technology platform, has published the Brightcove Q2 2020 Global Video Index Entertainment and Media Edition, which found that OTT streaming of entertainment content continued to dominate, even as governments began loosening stay-at-home restrictions.

The data suggests that consumers’ media consumption habits may be permanently shifting away from linear TV, cementing streaming as the go-to choice for entertainment viewing.

Brightcove’s Q2 2020 Global Video Index shows that consumption of news and entertainment content nearly doubled (40 per cent) from Q1 (23 per cent) – a significant finding considering Q2 typically sees slower growth in video viewing compared to Q1. Looking at the first half of 2020 compared to 2019, the number of views overall is up more than 30 per cent.

“The streaming industry is exploding faster than we’ve ever seen before. While much can be attributed to Covid-19 keeping people indoors, stay-at-home orders do not account for the entirety of recent growth,” said Jim O’Neill, Principal Analyst and Author of Brightcove’s Global Video Index. “There has been significant growth within the video industry, leading to more video content streaming as a whole; OTT services like Netflix added nearly 26 million viewers and Disney+ topped 54.5 million subscribers in Q2.”

Where consumers choose to view their content is also shifting. Connected TV’s (CTVs) saw the most growth in Q2 (160 per cent year-over-year), indicating a resurgence in larger screens as the viewing medium of choice for entertainment.

Other notable findings from the Brightcove Q2 2020 Global Video Index that are specific to North America include:

  • Consumption peaked right before states began reopening. Video views were up year-over-year with April seeing the biggest increase in consumption (103 per cent).
  • Every type of device saw a surge in use. CTVs, smartphones, tablets, and computers saw gains exceeding 80 per cent in April. May saw an increase of 39 per cent and June was up 53 per cent.
  • CTV viewing had the strongest gains. CTV views jumped 428 per cent in the first half of the year compared to a year ago. Viewers watch content four times as long on CTVs than on smartphones, followed by tablets (200 per cent), and computers (30 per cent).
  • Mobile video views saw significant growth. The pandemic increased smartphone video starts by 37 per cent.

“2020 has become video’s evolutionary moment, and streaming entertainment video content is one area where we will continue to see growth,” said Jeff Ray, Brightcove CEO. “The crisis has impacted people at an emotional and financial level, making the need for human connection through video content more crucial than ever. We’re seeing this play out with the rise of streaming services subscriptions, indicating that the future of entertainment consumption lies in connected and mobile devices – linear television could soon be of the past.”


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