First the ‘Tiger King’ burst into American lives and then the PVOD success of ‘Trolls World Tour’ fueled a fight between Universal Pictures and theatre chains across the country. We all know that the amount of viewing is way up since Cv19, but it is becoming increasingly clear is that the nature viewing post-Cv19 is not going back to “normal”.

As states began to lock down, binge viewing began to take off: 4-in-10 Americans reported in early April that they were binge watching TV more than they did as of early March.  Feelings of anxiety and loneliness began to creep in, becoming top drivers of binge viewing. Viewers are waffling between a mix of old and new content – 33% say they are watching more old TV shows/movies while 45% are watching more new content.

But perhaps bigger than binge viewing are the changes in parental paradigms around ‘screen time’. More than half of parents are giving into more screen time for their kids. In fact, a recent Harris Poll shows that parents are the group most likely to be new subscribers to Netflix. As the Wall Street Journal reported based on that survey, parents with children at home are spending $60 a month, on average, for streaming subscriptions—well above the general population—and have 3.8 services, compared with 1.7 for households with no children. A fifth of homes with children are watching more than four additional hours of streaming content a day. “Parents have hired streaming services as nannies to keep their kids occupied,” said John Gerzema, chief executive of the Harris Poll.

When parents do give in, it offers a sense of relaxation, but also fuels some anxiety – parental guilt is alive and well.

PVOD (Premium Video on Demand) has also entered American consciousness. Nearly half say that they have heard something about movies being released direct to streaming in recent weeks. And that data was collected before the ‘Trolls’ controversy began. Consumer demand for at-home movies is likely to continue even after the country begins to reopen as people stay wary of crowds–more than half of adults say they wouldn’t go to a movie theatre within 4 months of the curve flattening and nearly a quarter would be unwilling go for a year or more.

Sentiment for these entertainment options has grown as the pandemic continues. As of late March, 20% of Americans said their perception of the Entertainment industry was more positive – by late April that number is 31%.

This boom of new subscribers, extended viewing and strong goodwill provides ample opportunity but it also requires a strategic path forward –

  • How can your brand own, or shape, the ‘new normal’ when it emerges?
  • What might a “must have” theater experience look like if exclusivity is no longer the draw?
  • How can you keep your new subscribers – particularly as economic realities put financial pressure on American families?
  • What types of content might address current gaps in our day-to-day life as many are unable or hesitant to go to gyms, visit theatres or attend live events? What content may ease parental guilt about scream time?

If you would like to brainstorm how this might impact your brand, reach out as we’re here to help.


Amber Broughton

Managing Director

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