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US sees streaming surge amid coronavirus outbreak

Netflix’s Tiger King

The impact of coronavirus on TV viewing has been examined by a new report which has found a notable rise in US streaming.

According to Comcscore, OTT streaming has significantly increased across connected TVs and streaming devices in the weeks since the World Health Organisation declared the illness to be a pandemic.

The research found that connected TV and streaming boxes/sticks have registered significant year-over-year growth for March. Streaming boxes and sticks make up 56% of OTT streaming hours for the month, with CTVs accounting for 32%. Comparing the period of March 1-16 for both 2019 and 2020, CTV viewership has increased by 29% year-over-year with streaming stick viewership increasing by 43%.

The story is inverted for total OTT hours viewed, with CTVs registering a year-over-year uptick of 24% while streaming sticks saw growth of 16%

In terms of app usage, the ‘big four’ (Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu) made up over 85% of all time watched in the US for March 1-16. Netflix was the clear favourite with 37%, followed by YouTube at 21%, Amazon Prime Video at 16% and Hulu at 12%. The category of ‘others’ – including the likes of CBS All Access, HBO Now and Disney+ – saw a total of 12% of all OTT streaming hours in the US.

Bill Livek, CEO of Comscore, said: “Comscore’s latest information shows that the millions of Americans who are remaining indoors to comply with Coronavirus public health measures are hungry for news and entertainment, and streaming options are an increasingly important piece of the consumption pie along with traditional TV.

“Advertisers who are looking to pivot their planning to match the rapidly-changing media consumption landscape can benefit from engaging with these growing audiences.”