Video Trends and COVID-19

Posted on April 14th, 2020 by Vaughn Ericson

Over the past few weeks as workers across the United States have settled into new routines, social distancing and working from their kitchens, dens, basements, and even bathrooms, we have seen a dramatic shift in media consumption and habits.

  • Americans are searching for news and coronavirus information, homeschooling tips, and ‘drive-by baby shower ideas.’
  • Publisher paywalls are coming down in order to provide greater access to COVID information.
  • Out of home viewing has declined significantly as commuting and shopping ground to a halt.
  • Online shopping for grocery items and household essentials is overwhelming websites and causing delays.
  • Americans at home are spending significantly more time with their TVs and connected devices — from local news to Netflix binging.

Interestingly, linear TV viewing is slightly down in the early morning hours, as workers may be sleeping a little later since they don’t have to commute. But by 8am, TV sets are on and stay on throughout the day. Local News is an important source of information for Americans, and connected TVs are a fast growing source of entertainment for viewers of all ages.

While we all wait for the COVID-curve to flatten, we are starting to see a flattening of the curve when it comes to video viewing. Americans have adjusted to work-from-home settings and have settled into new routines. The week that ended on March 29 shows that the rapid growth in total television viewing over the past 5 weeks has slowed. Only a week before,  week-over-week increased in double digits — ranging from +12% to +42% across different demos. The following week flattened out across the board for most components of TV usage.

The current, higher levels of television usage is expected hold throughout the mandatory shelter-at-home period, and we anticipate that some of these trends may have an effect beyond the pandemic. Streaming services were in a growth mode before, and will likely benefit more in the future. There are still a lot of original programs left to binge on Netflix. YouTube continues to grow. And new services are challenging the established brands. For example, Quibi launched with a 90-day free trial, adding yet another option to the menu.

When the recovery begins, certain COVID-influenced behaviors will likely remain. People may be wary of returning to the office, large crowds, subways, sporting events, and concerts. There will be a continued need for information. According to recent research from GlobalWebindex, many people say they will continue to consume video much like they are today.

Marketers, particularly those that have halted or cut ad spending during this crisis, will need to look at the new consumption patterns and engage with their consumers accordingly.

As SVP Activation Strategy, Vaughn provides strategic direction to our agency, playing a crucial role in planning for the future growth of the agency, including molding and training activation teams.  He understands the correlation between brand, content, and channel to drive incremental, measurable results. His background in media strategy from start to finish allows him to lead his team in focusing on the acquisition of the most efficient, relevant, engaging and effective media touchpoints for client media plans, while always looking for innovative solutions along the way.