Video streaming has grown significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, gaining a foothold in about 6 million new households since the first quarter of last year, according to Parks Associates and streaming guide provider Reelgood.

The firms say that 76% of U.S. broadband households now have service. The report – which assessed the status of 10,000 heads of U.S. households between March 8 and April 3 – found that 12% of households are taking online pay-TV services such as YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV.

“We are closely tracking shifts in technology use at home, as shelter-in-place orders have continued as a result of COVID-19,” Parks Associates’ Research Director Steve Nason said in a press release. “Consumers are experimenting with watching videos on different services and different devices. We anticipate a number of changes to occur, including higher consumption combined with reduced spending per month on services, which could boost ad-based services, as well as shifts in what content consumers are watching.”

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Video Streaming Households
The companies found that the number of households that took three or more OTT streaming trials increased between the first quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of this year. The number of households that took only one trial was greater during the earlier quarter.

The report says that genres including comedy, faith and spirituality and children’s programming increased their viewer share. Horror, war and crime declined slightly. Children’s programming, in particular, has upside potential, noted  Catharine Burhenne, Reelgood’s head of marketing, in the press release about the video streaming households research.

The COVID-19 crisis is providing streaming and other content providers with the opportunity to help the public cope – and, in the process, display their wares. Amazon Prime, AT&T, CBS, Charter, Comcast, Sling TV, Verizon and perhaps others are providing free content and extended trials to subscribers.

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