Over the last 12 months we have witnessed an Over-the-top (OTT) boom, with the number of households streaming content on an OTT device rising from 44 million per month prior to March 2020 to nearly 300 million households in June 2020.
Stay-at-home orders in place across much of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic have meant that our consumption of entertainment has been limited to being from our living rooms, with cinemas, sports arenas and theatres all closed. OTT technology has helped to facilitate the watching of our favourite sports team as well as the release of new movies to premiere at home, such as Frozen II by Disney+.
While COVID-19 has undoubtedly sped up the OTT revolution that we have seen over the last 12 months, there were signs long before Coronavirus that it was on the rise. The streaming of online video rose 72.4% from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019 with many US households already making the switch to ‘cordless’ viewing and cancelling their traditional TV and cable packages prior to the last 12 months.
What’s more, it’s not just movies and television that are attracting customers away from traditional TV channels, almost 39% of viewers now watch live sports events via streaming services as well.
Media buying platform ‘The Trade Desk’ said in a statement that “COVID has accelerated cord-cutting trends that were already underway, to a point where less than 50% of U.S. households today have a cable subscription”.
It is clear that the shift away from cable TV is not a temporary one with consumers realising the benefits of OTT services more and more, a trend that looks set to continue.
Moreover, TransUnion found in a survey of U.S consumers that 44% currently subscribe to an average of three to five Subscription Video on Demand services (SVODs). Interestingly, 67% said that they don’t plan on cancelling any of these subscriptions any time soon. This suggests that even as everyday life returns to normal, consumers aren’t in any rush to give up their VOD subscriptions.
With the vaccine rollout underway in many countries and a seeming light at the end of the COVID-shaped tunnel, it seems clear that OTT services are here to stay and are not simply a pandemic-fad. Consumers are in no hurry to cancel their subscriptions yet, with the past year offering just a glimpse to the OTT-backed possibilities of streaming entertainment in the future.