In this blog post, we use data from Comscore’s Total Home Panel to examine changes in the ways U.S. audiences access connected devices in their home, with a focus on engagement with streaming services.
As millions of Americans adjusted to working from home and distance learning due to COVID-19, in-home data usage spiked. We can see from Comscore’s Total Home Panel that average in-home data consumption was up 33 percent over the first ten days of May 2020 vs. the same amount of time in May 2019 (May 1-10, 2020 vs. May 1-10, 2019). And this comes after 36 percent and 28 percent year over year jumps in April and March 2020, respectively. The devices driving this growth from a year on year change perspective have been smart TVs, mobile phones, streaming boxes/sticks, and smart speakers.
We were already seeing double digit year over year growth in February and early March 2020, but once states began issuing stay-at-home orders, in-home consumption saw rapid growth. Usage remained strong through the week of April 20, but we have since witnessed a decline in data consumption over the past couple weeks, possibly due to some states easing their social distancing protocols.
When it comes to viewing entertainment through devices like streaming boxes/sticks and smart TVs, the “big 5” streaming services still account for the majority of total OTT hours streamed at home – upwards of 80 percent. However, the last two months saw shifts in how much services engaged their viewers. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ saw growth in share of streaming hours between the week of May 11 vs. February 3. And, while Disney+ currently holds a smaller share of streaming hours among the "big 5", it is worthwhile to note that it is nearly two times larger than the next largest video-oriented OTT app offering in terms of streaming hours.
By shifting the view to show growth relative to each platform’s share, one can see how Disney+ took off during this pandemic. Some of Disney’s growth, however, is likely related to the straight-to-VOD release of the movie “Onward” which landed on Disney+ on April 3, 2020 as well as other notable releases in early May.
As governments re-open, in-home data consumption and OTT streaming will likely continue to decline, and Comscore will be monitoring these trends.
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