Consumers Using Paid Streaming Services More as a Result of COVID-19; Trend May Be Here to Stay
TransUnion survey highlights consumer media consumption and generational differences
COVID-19 has brought on many changes in the way people consume media with more than half of Americans (56%) saying they are using paid streaming services at a higher rate today than before the pandemic. As shelter-in-place mandates begin to lift, a new TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) survey found that these new media consumption behaviors will likely continue with 45% of consumers saying they will make paid streaming services a permanent part of life moving forward.
As consumers’ use of paid streaming services (including platforms such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix and Apple TV) has increased, so too has the amount of time they are using them. Consumers said their usage increased from 1–2 hours per day prior to the pandemic to an average of 3–4 as of the week of May 18th. More than one-third of consumers surveyed spent at least five hours daily with streamed media. This was most prominent for consumers in the 18-29 year-old age group as 66% of these respondents indicated an increase of daily viewing.
“The use of digital platforms has accelerated as younger generations seek more control and flexibility over how they consume content,” said Matt Spiegel, executive vice president and head of the media vertical at TransUnion. “In today’s global, tech-driven economy, this consumption is occurring across multiple channels and devices as consumers shift away from traditional cable and broadcast. To account for this profound shift in consumption behaviors, advertisers need greater insight into the people behind the devices to gain a more holistic picture of the connected consumer.”
Consumers are not only streaming more content, but also subscribing to more platforms since the onset of the pandemic. The percentage of consumers subscribed to 3–5 streaming services increased to 48%, up from 37% prior to COVID-19. Furthermore, the cord-cutting trend continues to gain a foothold in the media ecosystem with 53% of consumers indicating they use a subscription streaming service in place of a traditional cable TV package. The generational divide regarding this trend was most evident among younger consumers as they were most likely to belong to the cord-cutting group.
Youngest Consumers “Cutting the Cord” at the Highest Rate
Content Streaming Services
18–29 Age Group
30–44 Age Group
45–60 Age Group
60+ Age Group
In place of – I do not have a cable subscription
In addition to – I also have a cable TV package
The survey found that SmartTV was the most popular streaming device overall with 37% using this platform. Age demographics played a role in terms of streaming device preference as consumers in the 18–29 age group also preferred mobile devices (25%) for streaming while those in the 30–44 demographic had a preference for OTT devices (19%). Meanwhile older age groups such as those 60+ demonstrated the highest preference toward SmartTVs (41%), with their next choice for streaming being computers. However, streaming as a whole may still be a fairly new concept as 19% indicated they do not stream content at all.
“As more consumers leverage digital channels and look for entertainment options in the comfort of their homes, it’s important to take a pulse check as to how consumer behaviors are changing – and have changed since the onset of the pandemic. These insights will be instrumental to advertisers as they adapt their positioning and targeting in the marketplace to create more relevant experiences,” said Spiegel.
TransUnion’s suite of identity, audience and insights solutions help marketers and media companies understand and reach the consumers on the other side of the screen. To learn more, please visit https://www.transunion.com/media-consumption.
About the Survey
The online survey was conducted the week of May 18, 2020 and included responses from 2,639 U.S. consumers, ages 18 and over.
About TransUnion (NYSE: TRU)
TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy. We do this by providing a comprehensive picture of each person so they can be reliably and safely represented in the marketplace. As a result, businesses and consumers can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good.®
A leading presence in more than 30 countries across five continents, TransUnion provides solutions that help create economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for hundreds of millions of people.