The coronavirus pandemic has proven to be an evolutionary event for streaming video as millions of new users, following strict shelter-in-place edicts, turned to streaming video for entertainment, news, remote learning and work. That’s one of the findings from Brightcove’s Q1 2020 Global Video Index.
Media and entertainment trends included a surge of viewing on computers and connected TVs and a pause in the growth of share of viewing on mobile devices after six consecutive quarters.
Video views globally increased nearly 23% for entertainment, news and sports properties. In North America, views were up 19% and time watching increased 21%. Asia-Pac saw a 67% increase in views with, Australia/New Zealand up 39%, with a 31% jump in time watched.
The increases were even higher in Europe, where views were up 58% and time watched increased 43%.
COVID-19 drove big gains in news consumption
Some of the biggest gains were, unsurprisingly, in news content.
As the COVID-19 pandemic raced across the world, consumers increasingly turned to streaming video sources for their up-to-the-minute news briefings, data from Brightcove’s Q1 2020 Global Video Index shows, with video views up 47%.
As news became more critical and the world’s attention turned to al-things coronavirus, consumers increasingly saw streaming news as their best bet for breaking information about the world, their country and even their hometown.
Globally, and in most regions, March saw the highest engagement with viewers and the last two weeks of March saw more views and time spent with news than the first two weeks.
Among the news highlights:
In the US, time spent watching news video increased 319%
42% of all news video view for the quarter occurred in March
Australia/New Zealand saw Y/Y news video views increase+57%
Europe saw Y/Y views of news increased by 47%; views in March made up 41% of the quarter’s views
News views in the Middle East/North Africa region rose nearly 3X, with March making up 42% of the quarter’s views; time spent viewing news video nearly doubled.
Enterprise, retail video use soars
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic was even more evident on enterprises and retailers.
Views of enterprise videos nearly doubled globally (+91%) as companies increased their efforts to stay connected with a remote workforce, customers and vendors.
March saw more than 41% of all views in the quarter, with the second half of the month accounting for 23% of the quarter’s total video views.
Retailers also turned to online video as the coronavirus impacted their willingness to put ads alongside the grim news of the pandemic. But consumers remained curious about retail, increasing consumption 135% globally as they increasingly moved online to shop.
Unlike media and entertainment, smartphones remained at the center of consumer’s video world when it came to retail, with video views up 253% Y/Y on smartphones and 143% Q/Q. Views more than doubled in the United States and were up 188% in Europe.
Brightcove’s Global Video Index assesses more than 400 billion anonymized data points from Brightcove’s thousands of customers each quarter, drawing industry insights that can help guide strategic and tactical decisions for businesses of all sizes.
The bottom line
The coronavirus pandemic saw streaming increase across the globe. It legitimately can be seen as an event that will change the course of how Internet-delivered video is used and accelerate its adoption around the globe and across virtually all demographics.
In terms of news, it’s far more flexible in terms of delivery than broadcast, able to spin up additional news “channels” quickly. That gives publishers and content owners more bandwidth to deliver in-depth reports on either a macro- or micro-basis, including live events as they happen.
Aside from COVID-19, with recent events, we’ll see an even more significant surge in viewing consumption for Q2.
It wasn’t just news, obviously, that has seen greater adoption of video; entertainment moved front and center (as evidenced by Netflix’s 15.8 million new subscribers in Q1) during the quarter, as well.
Simply put, consumer’s accelerated adoption of OTT in Q1 (and we’ll see more in Q2) is an example of how we adapt to change. It’s evolution in action.
Content owners and distributors need to understand that this isn’t a blip in data, it’s evolution… and we won’t be going back to the way it was.
Stay tuned – and stay well.