With traffic on major streaming sites 21% up on pre-pandemic levels, new data suggests the bubble won’t burst. There are permanent lifestyle changes in place of which a sustained larger appetite for streamed content is one.
According to Verizon’s Look Forward study, a clear majority (82%) of American streaming TV users expect to be spending at least if not more time, viewing online this time 2022 when presumably the pandemic is under control.
Almost six in 10 respondents said they’ve been spending at least three hours a day watching streamed content, and almost half (47%) said they’ve subscribed to a new streaming service during the pandemic.
A majority of Americans (62%) say they still have a cable or satellite subscription, though 23% said they have cut the cord and among millennials, 21% said they have never subscribed to an online VOD service.
While there is no final verdict on American’s preference to binge watch versus watch episodic content, Gen Z certainly prefers to binge (47%).
While these findings chime with other reports of the inexorable rise of streaming, American’s are not the world’s largest binge watchers- at least of Netflix shows.
A report by Comparitech charts how much content the average person in each country consumes on Netflix and suggests that South Americans take the crown. The nation with the biggest binge-watchers is Peru where Netflix users consume an average of 115,300 minutes (1,922 hours or 80 days) – 52% more than average. And they are closely followed by Argentinians who have binged an average of 110,459 minutes of Netflix since opening their account. Other top countries include Chile, Mexico, and Colombia, all of which have consumed over 100,000 minutes on average.
In contrast, the majority of European countries are more ‘casual’ viewers of Netflix. UK, Australia, and Canada watch slightly more Netflix than the average viewer (67,796 minutes equivalent to 1,130 hours or 47 days).
Mobile Gaming up, Video Conferencing Rockets
The Verizon report also looked at gaming and finds that mobile gaming really took off during the pandemic. Nearly half of Americans (per the survey) have bought or downloaded a mobile game during the pandemic; while over a third report doing the same for a computer or console game. Online gaming occupies at least three hours a week for 31% of respondents although an equal number suggest they were spending more time doing so in the early months of lockdown than they are now.
Newer technology may get the headlines about record data usage, but the old fashioned telephone call spiked during and after lockdowns. As the pandemic first took hold, Verizon network data showed phone calls increase by 20% as people were connecting more over the phone than in person. That percentage has remained steady with current phone calls coming in at almost 19% above pre-pandemic times. Today the duration of those calls also remains significantly higher, with people talking almost 29% longer on calls. The strongest increase in reported usage is for video calls, up to 26% for friends and 31% for immediate family.
When it came to video streaming for work, another new normal, Verizon said use of video conferencing was up a “remarkable” 2872% above pre-pandemic levels, with traffic across VPNs up 91%. The survey data suggests that many employees who have acclimated to remote work are not in a rush to go back to an office full-time. In fact, half agree that they would consider changing jobs to continue remote or hybrid work.
Verizon said, “This shift in worker preference has one major implication: the reliability of networks is even more important today and going forward as workers are increasingly able to work from places other.”
The online poll was conducted by Morning Consult during March, among a national weighted sample of 3,000 adults in the U.S.
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