M&E Connections

Whip Media Study: Streamers are Self-Isolating, Looking for Laughs

A new study from content tracking tool TV Time and its parent company Whip Media sees a large majority (91%) of U.S. TV viewers socially distancing, isolating themselves to a degree, or considering doing one or the other, due to the novel coronavirus. And they’re almost all looking for stuff to watch.

The report — “Social Distancing and Streaming” — found that of those who are staying closer to home, 84% said they intend on increasing their TV consumption, with 86% saying they would watch shows already on their watch list.

An escape from reality (73%), and content that makes them laugh (72%) were also high on the list of reasons people will be watching more, the survey found. Only 19% of respondents said they would watch the news.

“Consumer sentiment will no doubt evolve in the coming weeks as more and more people are staying isolated in their homes,” the report reads. “Streaming services are poised to be among the biggest beneficiaries to capture consumers’ viewership and engagement. Disney+ already released ‘Frozen 2’ earlier than planned.

“And as the coronavirus takes its toll on the theatrical business, national chains such as Regal and AMC have shut down, further driving consumers to in-home streaming entertainment. In addition, content providers such as NBCUniversal have announced that they will make their movies available on-demand on the same date as their global theatrical releases. This could be the beginning of a largescale shift in home viewing to give consumers faster access to box office hits in a post-coronavirus age.”

The report — based on feedback from 3,126 U.S. users of the TV Time app between March 13-15 — also found that the most popular choices for content were drama (78%) and comedies (76%), followed by sci-fi and fantasy (67%). Fewer than a fifth of respondents chose news or children’s programs, and a mere 9% selected “sports-related” content.

“Our goal was to assess how consumers are feeling during this volatile time of self-isolation and examine not just what they’re watching, but why they’re watching,” the report reads. “With the entertainment industry spending on content at an unprecedented pace, it’s critical that streaming service providers better understand their consumers and offer the right content choices that are right for their platform.”