It will come as no surprise that there has been an increase in the consumption of media during the current COVID-19 pandemic. With more people staying at home, social distancing in place and large gatherings being discouraged, many people in the United States have turned their attention to entertainment at home and viewing digitally.
In fact, according to information gathered by Nielson, there has been an increase of 60% when it comes to home entertainment usage. Without cinemas and the majority of entertainment centers, people are opting to relax with several entertainment options and gaming at home. There is no denying that the pandemic has had a positive impact on home entertainment.
A study by Deloitte revealed that 38% of consumers have tried a new home entertainment subscription, digital entertainment option or activity during the pandemic, many of which will continue when life begins to return to normal.
How Has COVID-19 Impacted Entertainment?
A number of home entertainment examples have benefited from increased subscribers since the beginning of the pandemic, including:
Sadly, cinemas are losing out big time during the pandemic after they were forced to shut. However, this has led to streaming services benefiting hugely. The likes of Netflix, Disney+, Twitch and Amazon Prime have all reported boosted income.
Netflix has always been popular but compared to last year, it has boasted a net income of $709 million. This is twice the amount the streaming service made the previous year. Though Wall Street estimated Netflix recieved 7.6 million additional subscribers, Netflix itself recorded an impressive 15.8 million additional subscribers.
Since the pandemic started, Disney+ recorded 22 million subscribers signing up. Similarly, Amazon Prime also expects to see a notable rise in revenue. This is because Amazon Prime offers a range of entertainment for free, but chargers additional prices for new releases.
Even Twitch, a streaming website for gaming videos, recorded a 10% increase in the number of users from March 18th. Twitch is unlike many other streaming platforms as it generates income by monetising videos with advertisements. Therefore Twitch’s boosted revenue is due to ads, whereas other platforms rely on subscribers to boost revenue.
In recent years, cable television fell to the wayside for many people. It was seen as ‘of the past’, out of date and ‘less than’ a number of the popular streaming services. There have been very few new television series filmed lately, as COVID-19 resulted in a lot of productions being paused. Therefore, subscribers have been forced to check out cable television programming packages with extra channels from Charter Communications, Comcast Xfinity, Mediacom and other cable TV service providers, in order to find something they haven’t seen before.
With these additional packages, consumers have a wider range of television channels and shows to enjoy. Plus, a lot of people are now subscribing to movie packages when they previously would have headed to the movie theater. In order to entertain themselves, they are paying for additional movies.
The pandemic has meant that sporting activities and games have been put on hold, which means sports fans have had to find something else to watch. By signing up for additional cable television and movie packages, they have helped slow down the loss of cable company profits.
High Speed Internet Services
COVID-19 has led to an increased interest in having high speed internet. With so many restrictions in place, Americans have been turning to online activities. This includes gaming, streaming and similar entertainment options. With all of this going on, households have had to increase their bandwidth to keep up with the demand. Switching to a very fast internet option, many of which are provided by top cable companies, has been a lifeline for families who rely on the internet at home.
Streaming video, online gaming, and working or studying from home also creates the need for high speed internet. Meetings, sending documents, school assignments, general work and many office based tasks are now being done from the home. A subpar internet connection isn’t good enough to accommodate this, which is why a high speed internet connection is key. For example, with a slow internet connection, many platforms will not work as well as needed.
The pandemic has freed up a lot of time for people; rather than going out with friends and visiting local attractions, everyone is having to spend more time indoors. This has led to many gaming platforms noticing a boost in revenue. Those who had little interest in gaming, are now showing an interest and signing up to a variety of platforms. Gaming has become a ‘go to’ passtime for many, now that there are fewer alternative ways to stay entertained.
According to The NPD Group’s monthly report, there was a significant rise in the sale of games during the Coronavirus crisis. For example, software sales rose to $739m and this was a 34% increase from mid March. Similarly, hardware sales also increased by 63% when compared to last year. Overall, the gaming industry has experienced an increase of approximately $1.6 billion. This is a 35% increase compared to 2019.
An expert at The NPD Group, Mat Piscatella, explained that COVID-19 has helped gaming to evolve. Rather than being a simple entertainment passtime, it now helps others to connect as a larger community. Whilst spending a lot more time alone than before, gaming has helped others to stay entertained and connected in life.
There are two games that stood out as being key players during the pandemic, both of which sold an impressive amount of units during the pandemic. These are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. In regards to hardware, The NPD Group stated that the sales of consoles for gaming have risen. Out of them all, Nintendo Switch came out on top by selling more in March 2020 than the year before. The company found it difficult to keep up with the heightened demand.
The Ongoing Impact of COVID-19 on Home Entertainment
Though it’s difficult to say whether home entertainment has been changed forever by COVID-19, it’s possible to see that it’s certainly benefiting at the moment. It’s still too early to say whether movie theaters, sports and concerts will ever be held in the same way they were before the pandemic.
Going forward, home entertainment will continue to remain popular when there are few other options. Many industries have suffered during the pandemic, but home entertainment has benefited. Streaming platforms, gaming companies and high speed internet providers have all reported gains.