Stuck-at-home adults report watching more on-demand TV shows and movies  

60% of MVPD on-demand viewers report increases in use A majority of TV viewers stuck at …

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60% of MVPD on-demand viewers report increases in use

A majority of TV viewers stuck at home due to the COVID-19 crisis are watching more on-demand TV shows and movies, according to new research. 

The study of 1,997 adults by The Diffusion Group found that six in 10 U.S adult broadband users who use pay-TV on-demand services have increased viewing as a result of COVID-19-related stay-at-home directives.

And 19% of the adults surveyed reported a significant increase, while another 41 percent say their viewing has “increased somewhat”. 

That may be more bad news for cable TV and satellite services that have banked on live TV viewers for years. TGD’s findings released on Tuesday didn’t address live TV directly. But other statistics are suggesting that people are continuing to cut the cord from traditional pay-TV. 



More bad news for cable TV?

Cable and satellite TV providers have already suffered through their largest quarterly subscriber loss during the first three months of 2020. With COVID-19 ravaging the economy, those numbers are expected to get worse. And with a major downturn in the economy, people already appear to be on the hunt for alternatives to legacy cable and satellite services. 

Earlier this week, the CEO of the largest TV antenna-maker in the U.S. told The Cord Cutting Report that Antennas Direct has seen a 200 percent increase in online sales in recent weeks. 

“Much has been written about recent spikes in the use of on-demand streaming video services such as Netflix and Disney+, and for good reason,” Michael Greeson, TDG president and principal analyst said in a statement. “Our findings clearly demonstrate that, being largely confined to their homes, consumers see tremendous value in having access to on-demand shows and movies. And this holds true for all such services, including those offered by pay-TV providers.”

According to TDG’s new research, 77% of adult broadband users that subscribe to a pay-TV service watch shows and movies via the service’s on-demand feature.

Of those, 60% report spending more time watching on-demand programming as a consequence of having to stay at home due to local, state, or national directives related to COVID-19.

TDG also found that:

  • On-demand viewers under the age of 45 were almost twice as likely as those 45 and older to have significantly increased on-demand use (23% vs. 13% respectively);
  • 21% of those using virtual pay-TV on-demand report significant increases in viewing, a bit higher than their cable and fiber pay-TV counterparts at 19%. Satellite on-demand viewers lag in this respect, with only 13% reporting significant increases;
  • 23% of pay-TV on-demand users in the Western U.S. report a significant increase in use, compared with 19% of those in the Northeast, 18% of those in the South, and 16% of those in the Midwest; and
  • Female pay-TV on-demand viewers were as likely as their male counterparts to have significantly increased on-demand viewing under stay-at-home directives.

In late April 2020, TDG surveyed 1,997 U.S. adults with a broadband data service in the home about their TV and video behaviors. 

The firm’s Quantum Media Behavior analyzes the pandemic’s impact on media usage, particularly among legacy and virtual pay-TV users, and their counterparts (i.e., Cord Cutters and Nevers).

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Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.

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