The Covid pandemic has brought about a lot of changes, and one of those is how much time people are spending in front of their TVs. The increased viewing time has only grown as time under the pandemic progresses, with the vast majority of people admitting to watching more than they did in a pre-Covid world.
In fact, in February, 77% of people said they were watching more TV now than before the pandemic, with 42% saying they watch a lot more according to Hub Research. The number of people who say they watch more now has steadily climbed since July’s 69% and the 70% we saw in November 2020.
With more time dedicated to watching TV comes a greater need for fresh content, and viewers are responding by adding more subscriptions to their lineup. The percentage of people who have added at least one TV subscription has grown from 28% in July 2020 to 44% by February 2021. While a smaller number of people have dropped at least one subscription, those who have added more cancel out any loss.
Viewing TV content via streaming has only grown over the course of the pandemic. Netflix has remained the leader of the pack with 71% of viewers in the study saying they subscribe to the longtime platform, up 11 points since February of last year. Prime Video, Disney+ and Hulu also saw steady growth, while HBO Max more than doubled its points from 15% in July to 31% in February of 2021.
Live streaming options also increased despite a lack of Live sporting events. Sports are a huge draw when it comes to a demand for live content, yet services like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live and Sling TV saw significant growth year over year. On the flip side, less people are turning to traditional TV methods when it comes to getting their Live TV fix. Cable, Satellite and other traditional providers saw a dip from February 2020 to February 2021, ending the year down 8 points at 62%.
And according to Hub Research data, 89% of February respondents who canceled their traditional pay TV service say they would have cut the cord even if Covid hadn’t happened—the highest proportion we’ve seen during the pandemic, by far.
“What’s been most interesting to us in our pandemic-related research has been trying to determine which pandemic-induced changes in TV behavior will persist once life begins to return to normal,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. “This wave of the study strongly suggests that Americans have grown more than just accustomed to the TV viewing adjustments they’ve made during the pandemic, and are ready to embrace a new, streaming-centric normal.”
The data cited here come from the third wave of Hub’s “Predicting the Pandemic” study, conducted among 3,008 US consumers age 14-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week. The data were collected in February 2021.