The majority of the world is in lockdown trying to stem the flow of the Covid-19 virus. So with that in mind, it’s probably to the surprise of nobody that there has been an increase in people using streaming services to watch movies and binge-watch their favourite TV shows from yesteryear. There has also been a slightly disturbing increase in the number of people searching for disaster-related content.
Just take a look at the stats for WarnerMedias streaming service, HBO that reveals that the viewing figures for the documentary Ebola: The Doctor’s Story have increased by about seven times compared to just a few weeks ago. The film Contagion is another prime example. The rentals of the classic have seen it climb to the top of the rental charts on many popular sites such as Cinemax’s on-demand services.
The stats are encouraging if you are in the streaming TV business. HBO alone has seen their viewership increase by some forty percent since the start of March. This is the highest they have seen their stats since last summer. Their information suggests that their users are mostly logging on to watch their older series rather than their newer content. For instance, The Wire has seen its viewers triple, it also shows that the likes of The Sopranos and Sex and the City have seen their figures double.
They have also revealed the statistics for their binge-watchers. This is when a viewer consumes three or more episodes of the same show in a row. This has jumped by sixty-five percent in the past four weeks. This is a similar stat to the movie watchers, with viewership of this content up by seventy percent. Among the more popular film content is Apocalypse Now (how apt) and Black Swan.
More to come
Cheryl Idell, the head of research at WarnerMedia said, “We expect to continue seeing elevated traffic to HBO Now and our linear networks over the next several weeks as people continue to work remotely and to distance themselves from others during the COVID-19 crisis. In times like this, television can be a powerful tool to bring people together emotionally when they are not able to be together physically. We’re encouraged that these elevated numbers indicate that people are taking isolation efforts seriously, and we hope that continues to be the case.”
It has been a similar story with Netflix. They too have seen an increased interest in disaster-related content. Among the more popular choices right now are films like Outbreak, Aftermath, 2012 and 3022. All four of these films have appeared in Netflix’s top 10 movies in recent days. Since mid-March, the documentary series Pandemic has remained in Netflix’s top 10. The top ten seems to be rounded up with darker content then you might expect, which perhaps reflects the mood of many.
There is a company called Samba TV which measures TV viewership and they have discovered that views on streaming sites Netflix and Amazon are up by double-digit figures based on their mid-March numbers. They also found that their viewership figures enjoyed a 41% spike on what they were just a week before. The average time people spent watching other streaming services has also increased. Dallas Lawrence, Samba TV’s head of TV insights said,
“People are going to these subscription services and spending exponentially more time there. People are going back and revisiting shows they love, and they’re also binge-watching shows that they’re just now finding the time to be introduced to.”
It seems then whereas the rest of the entertainment industry has taken a beating of late. Especially the theatre and live shows, the TV streaming industry is flourishing due to peoples isolation.