Conviva: Video streaming rose 20% globally in March amid coronavirus lockdowns

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Video streaming is indeed soaring as expanding coronavirus quarantines have people turning to movies and TV series to pass the time and ease their sense of isolation, according to a new study.

The report by Conviva, a streaming media research firm, disclosed that video streaming by consumers around the world grew 20% in March, including a 26% increase in the U.S. Perhaps in a sign of just how much the quarantines have disrupted daily routines, the report found the biggest surge in viewing came during the daytime when streaming grew by 40% between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“The last three weeks have dramatically changed how we work, socialize and interact,” said Bill Demas, CEO of Conviva, in a statement with the report. “As we all adjust to the new normal, streaming and social video have become even more important to many American households.

Conviva partners with many of the largest video services and has its monitoring technology deployed in more than 3 billion streaming video applications. That gives the company a pretty robust view of habits. For this report, the company analyzed data between March 3 and March 23. It then compared the numbers in that final week to the two weeks prior to measure the change.

As part of the shift it detected, the company said early morning viewing rose 26% and early evening viewing increased 20%. The classic primetime viewing window of 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. saw a drop of 2%.

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There was a fair bit of variation. Africa saw an increase of 33%, while Europe saw only a marginal increase of 2.2%. That would seem to suggest that concerns over streaming services being a burden to the continent’s internet infrastructure may have been overstated. In response to requests from the European Commission, several streaming companies lowered their bitrates to ease their impact on networks.

Meanwhile, Asian markets, which tend to be mobile-first when it comes to video streaming, experienced a 10% drop as more people stayed at home, according to Conviva.

Conviva streaming

Conviva also tracked engage with social media and local news as part of the report. The report analyzed more than one thousand news outlets on social media and compared trends during the 30 days ending March 23 compared to the 30 prior days.

Video of views for local news organizations on Facebook grew 247% during that window, with the number of views per video jumping 118%. During that same time, national news organizations an increase of only 97% on Facebook, an indication of just how much consumers are searching for information that is more geographically relevant given the different rates of outbreaks and quarantine policies.

As with many such dramatic changes imposed by the coronavirus, it remains to be seen how many of these trends will hold up after the crisis ends. It seems unlikely that so much video viewing could continue during the day, for instance, after people return to work and school.

Still, the report suggests that video streaming platforms are likely to see a long-term bump as viewers become more dependent on them.

“While the circumstances are unique and the shifting primetime is surprising, the streaming growth is not,” Demas said in his statement. “We anticipate streaming providers will retain new viewers long after the coronavirus crisis has ended, as viewers embrace the variety and flexibility of the medium.”

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