When we last looked at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on video on demand (VOD) transactions, we saw a 30% year-over-year increase in average transactions per household that subscribes to VOD – with the average subscribing household accessing, purchasing or renting 16 titles of VOD content over the course of the month of March 2020.
Three months later, we now have a better understanding of how VOD transactions peaked and waned throughout the initial months of the pandemic.
Transactional on Demand (TOD) transactions peaked in April 2020 but were consistently above 12 million for the months of March, April and May 2020. The peak month of April 2020 represented a 33% increase in TOD transactions from February 2020.
Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) transactions followed a similar but more pronounced pattern. SVOD transactions also peaked in April 2020 with over 262 million transactions. But transactions declined in May 2020, potentially signaling a gradual return to pre-pandemic levels.
Free on Demand (FOD) transactions, which is the VOD category with the highest transaction rates by far, also peaked in April 2020 but held surprisingly steady through the month of May 2020. FOD transactions numbered approximately 518 million in April 2020 and approximately 515 million in May 2020, which represents a less than one percent decrease month-over-month.
When we look at year-over-year (YOY) change by key genres, we see that April 2020 had the greatest year-over-year increase—confirming that April 2020 was likely the peak of VOD viewing during the coronavirus pandemic. Across all categories, VOD transactions were up 24% in April 2020 over April 2019. Transactions declined in May 2020, but still remained about nine percent higher than May 2019.
During our peak month of April 2020, several VOD categories saw transaction numbers that were double-digit percentage points higher than April 2019. However, Sports and Fitness in particular, saw staggering 232% and 486% increases in transactions, respectively, in the month of April 2020. The sports category broke with the norm and increased over threefold in the month of May 2020—925% higher than Sports transactions in the month of May 2019. This perhaps highlights just how much Americans missed live sports and fitness content during the peak months of April and May 2020.
We will continue to monitor trends in video-on-demand consumption during the pandemic and will report any notable shifts via this blog.
Video on Demand (VOD): A video media distribution platform that allows viewers to access video entertainment whenever they like without the constraint of a typical static broadcast schedule. For the purposes of this blog, we are looking at VOD content accessed via set-top boxes.
Free on Demand (FOD): Ad-supported content made available for free on an on-demand basis for streaming to end users.
Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD): Content available for a fixed, recurring fee, that gives subscribers unlimited streaming access to a licensed catalog of content for the duration of their active subscription term (e.g. HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.).
Transactional on Demand (TOD): The temporary license (i.e., a rental) of a program for a limited and pre-determined viewing period (such as 24 or 48 hours) for on-demand viewing by an end-user.
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