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Streaming Services Deep Dive… | The Brand Strength Monitor / RDE Chart of the Week | Pre/Post Pandem

In our last Chart of the Week we started looking at the Subscription Video Streaming Services category and specifically the pandemic winner – HBO Max.  This week we’re taking a deep dive and examining the Pre/Post Pandemic Penetration and Usage by demographics.

The MSW TBSM tracking service measures category penetration and level of usage as one component of the survey.  A comparison of results taken before the beginning of the pandemic to a comparable assessment from May 2021 reveals explosive growth in the Subscription Streaming Video Services category.

  1. Overall, category penetration increased from 75.4% to 86.6%, which represents a 15% increase.  Moreover, claimed heavy usage increased by over half during the pandemic, from 18.5% before the outbreak to 29.2% in May 2021.  Clearly, as a result of spending much more time at home during the pandemic, people were turning to video entertainment.

  1. Those demographic groups which have seen particularly large gains include:

  2. Women, with heavy usage of streaming video services more than doubling.

  3. Age 55 Plus, which had the lowest pre-pandemic penetration, but closed the gap substantially, reaching penetration of 70% in the latest reading.

  4. Below Median Income, clearly also looking for entertainment options and perhaps enticed by some of the newer services, particularly lower cost “basic” plans.

  1. Clearly these results are consistent with the surge in subscription levels reported by the major subscription streaming video services for 2020:

  2. Netflix added 37 million new subscribers worldwide in 2020 – easily the largest annual increase since expanding into video streaming 14 years ago.

  3. Hulu added 9 million new subscriptions, a 29.6% year-over-year increase.

  4. While Disney+ debuted with very strong numbers pre-pandemic, growth continued to surge through the pandemic. The service hit 100 million subscribers in March 2021; a remarkable feat for a service just over a year old which initially hoped to reach 60 to 90 million subscribers by 2024.

  5. At the end of the first quarter of 2021, HBO and HBO Max totaled 44.2 million domestic subscribers – far exceeding the 33.1 million subscribers a year ago (before HBO Max).

While subscriber growth is seen to be slowing with the easing of the pandemic, it is clear the pandemic accelerated the trend toward the use of streaming services, particularly among those groups which had been slower to adopt the technology.

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