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Streaming Trends in 2020: What Has Changed This Year?

streaming trends

The coronavirus pandemic has exerted influence on all facets of our lives, prompting us to adjust to the new normal. Efforts to stop the spread of the virus include lockdowns, social distancing, and self-isolation. As a result, people around the world have sought in-home entertainment in hopes of unwinding and taking a break from gloomy news. That’s why we’ve decided to take a look at streaming trends and what this year has brought to the industry.

So far, we know that there has been an increase in online media usage in all forms. Companies operating in the online entertainment industry are scrambling to keep their users engaged. As theaters are still closed in many countries, movies have been released to on-demand services. Many bands and musicians are hosting virtual concerts on different platforms. Consequently, the amount of time users spend on these platforms has rapidly increased in the past few months.

In fact, time spent streaming TV and video increased by over 40% in Austria and Spain in March. It’s safe to say that videos have provided comfort in these challenging times. This medium was popular long before the pandemic, with 55% of people watching it every day. But, it has now proven to be our go-to source of entertainment.

We’ll look at some of the most prominent streaming trends to come out of this year. But first, let’s go over our viewing habits.

Changing Viewing Habits

Our viewing habits have changed dramatically over the years. A couple of decades ago we watched the same video types in the same places. We would tune into primetime TV, the news, and our favorite shows and movies on cable. Everyone watched entertainment content at home.

Then, in the past decade, online platforms such as YouTube gained traction and introduced a new chapter into our lives. It was then that the video went mobile. Mobile phones changed where and when we could watch different content — during commutes, while taking trips, on a lunch break, etc. They also gave new meaning to video, with internet users starting to learn new skills, make DIY projects, and connect with other people by way of this medium.

Today, we’re in the streaming era which has taken us back to our living rooms. Of course, people still watch mobile videos, but streaming services have become popular, prompting us to use TV screens again. Some of this growth is a direct result of more people staying at home due to COVID-19. However, it’s also because streaming videos have become mainstream. Now, streaming is the future and many companies are capitalizing on this fact.

So, it’s time to dive into streaming trends of 2020!

Video Streaming Trends: The Popularity of Streaming Services

A recent Comscore report states that 72% of households with WiFi now stream video on their connected TV (CTV) screens. Also, Comscore writes that there was a massive increase in CTV viewing this year. Namely, the number of CTV streaming homes increased from 44 million to 50 million. So, this is a truly massive market in 2020.

While researching this year’s streaming trends, we concluded that there are four players that stand out — Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+. Comscore reported that these four streaming providers accounted for 82.5% of CTV streaming hours.  These online streaming platforms are always working on bringing new titles in order to cater to their increasing user bases. In most cases, they analyze their subscribers’ needs so they could release content that video viewers want to see.

Indeed, online streamers are spending more time on the internet. In fact, according to one survey, 55% of them are watching more digital videos than they used to. In addition to that, they are also spending longer on social media in 2020. As you know, most social media networks have become video-focused in the past few years. If you take just one scroll down your feed, you’ll see that videos account for the biggest portion of content there.

Furthermore, the survey revealed that music takes a prominent spot among this year’s streaming trends. In fact, 42% of online users are listening to more streaming services. This form of entertainment is providing a much needed escape from the pandemic and dramatic news.

Although each service attracts people who are after different types of content, many viewers have discovered new genres they previously didn’t enjoy.

What Are Streamers Watching?

While practicing social distancing, people have become glued to their screens more than ever before. Our TVs and smartphones are successful at providing us with content we need while staying at home. But, they also showed us that we like certain content more than we thought.

According to GlobalWebIndex, online streamers discovered they like these genres more than they used to:

  • Documentary (25%)
  • Comedy (21%)
  • True crime (22%)
  • Science fiction (18%)
  • Drama (20%)

In the early days of the pandemic, Netflix dominated the online streaming world with its show Tiger King which blends true crime, documentary, and comedy. The show’s success could be attributed to the fact that streamers who participated in the GlobalWebIndex survey rated those three genres the highest.

Moreover, those who subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+ said they wanted to see more of the following content in the future:

  • Comedy
  • Niché content
  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Fantasy

As these providers are listening to their audience, there’s no doubt that these genres will dominate streaming trends in the years to come.

Why Is Streaming on TV Screens Becoming Popular?

Cable TV features hundreds of channels that indulge our every interest, from action to niché. Nevertheless, streaming is now more popular than cable TV. Why? Well, we have the answer to this question.

What sets streaming apart is the fact that it offers three distinct benefits:

  • Relevance (content that viewers need and love),
  • Control (the ability to find and discover the content you want),
  • Access (the large volume of content available)

What’s more, internet users love streaming providers because they democratize content production and our ability to locate and consume it. In a nutshell, they give us the advantages of cable TV, but on our own terms which is why their popularity will only grow in the future.

Streaming trends of 2020 also show that more people are streaming video on TV screens because of the versatility. Indeed, millions of people get access to so many content types through streaming services that they don’t need to look elsewhere. More and more people are watching live content, with watch time increasing by 250%. Also, watch time on TV screens has increased by 350% for documentaries in the USA alone.

As many countries (and people) are still practicing social distancing, it will be interesting to see how streaming trends will change in the upcoming months.

Streaming Trends: The Market Is Big Enough

Although it may not seem like it, the online streaming market is big enough. Video advertisers may think that streaming further fragments the viewers they are trying to reach. However, this is not the case. The streaming landscape offers so many opportunities to reach your target audience — you just need to take them. If you want to drive real results for your brand, make sure that your advertising strategy reaches the right consumers.

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