Person shopping on video store

The Streaming TV Craze — Is It Here to Stay?


Last year, the worldwide pandemic brought a lot of changes into almost every home, and it resulted in many daily routines and habits changing. For a lot of folks, remote working and learning became necessary — and as a result, people spent more time at home and online.

Covid-19’s Impact on Consuming Information and Entertainment

Another major change that took place during this shift was seen in the way that people prefer to consume information and entertainment. Literally overnight, movie theaters and live performances were no longer an option. Even people who may not have considered themselves tech-savvy found themselves looking for ways to entertain themselves at home and were more open to online viewing. They were also looking to control what, when and how they were being entertained. This resulted in a significant rise in streaming TV usage — and it looks like this trend may be here to stay.

According to a 2020 Cronin study on rural TV viewers ages 18-40, streaming-only homes saw 18% growth year over year from 2019 to 2020. This jump in streaming consumption could be a result, in part, of more older people streaming their television. In a recent entertainment report from Global Web Index, it was reported that “boomers using streaming services each day has grown by 10% since last year.” This same report states that, “Since 2019, time spent watching online TV has increased by 8%, whereas broadcast TV has stayed flat.”

Covid-19 and Streaming

As you can see in the chart below, as the age of viewers increases, so does the percent change just from the April-July 2020 time frame in terms of streaming usage. This timing includes the first spike in the pandemic, and the data clearly shows that streaming TV consumption was impacted.

It’s not just the older generations who are streaming, either — it seems all age groups are partaking in streaming digital video, and in many cases youth these days almost expect to be able to find the cartoon, video or movie they are looking for on demand. New options like Disney+ make it easier to meet these demands.

“I just signed up for both Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video once the pandemic hit, and I found myself home with time on my hands and a young family to entertain,” says Dawn Knopff, a mother of two children under the age of 6 who started streaming TV on multiple devices in 2020. “In the last year, we purchased new tablets for both my children, and now they stream their cartoons and movies on their tablets, on demand. My kids just expect to be able to watch what they want anytime and anywhere that they want.”

The Brandon Agency has clients in the telecom field like Horry Telephone Cooperative (HTC), which recently launched a streaming-TV platform called HTC TV MAX. The cooperative is currently encouraging its existing customers to try HTC TV MAX, and is even educating the public on why “cord-cutting” is desirable and how HTC can help through its increased base internet speeds and its streaming-TV service. Broadband connections, internet and video just seem to go hand in hand these days. HTC TV MAX is a way for HTC customers to stream on multiple devices in their homes, and HTC provides local customer service for anyone who might have questions about the service.

Spending Trends for Streaming Services

A report published in January 2021 by Statista.com showed that the average annual expenditure on renting, streaming and downloading video per consumer in the United States came in at $64.83 for 2019, which was nearly triple the amount recorded four years earlier in 2015, and up from $50.22 in 2018. According to this report, the most popular video-streaming service in the United States was YouTube, with Netflix in the number 2 spot, Hulu at number 3 and Amazon Prime Video in fourth.

It’s quite common for a consumer to end up with multiple bills for streaming services, but in some cases, there are streaming bundles that allow viewers to purchase Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ all together, for example. These three services have even teamed up with Verizon wireless to offer a bundle purchase that can fall right into a monthly service bill consumers may already have. It really makes the streaming option a convenient choice for existing Verizon customers, and it gives Verizon a selling point to leverage streaming options their competitors may not offer.

In late 2019 and in 2020, several new streaming services were launched to offer online access to entertainment, including Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi. With so many streaming service options now available, it is hard to know where a consumer can find the best value. According to a study by Hub Entertainment Research in March 2020 in which consumers weighed in on overall value for streaming services, 43% of people gave Netflix and Disney+ “Very High” ratings. Both Apple TV+ and Hulu had 39% approval in the study, with Amazon Prime at 35%, HBO Now at 32%, and CBS All Access at 32%. It’s interesting to see that none of these were above 44%.

It seems that for the foreseeable future, streaming TV is an option that the majority of people will explore, and the providers, bundles and options may also keep increasing. It may take some trial and error for consumers to find the best fit for their streaming entertainment and get to a place where they see maximized value in their providers.

Could your brand use some expert guidance to help its messaging reach the right consumers at the right times and in the right places? At The Brandon Agency, our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of marketing specialists of marketing specialists who can cover media planning & buying and lots more — including brand strategy, web design, creative, e-commerce, analytics, social media, SEO, conversion rate optimization and more — all in one place. To get started with help ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all of your marketing campaigns, contact us today.