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Covid-19: Netflix, Hulu user Numbers Decline as stay-at-Home Measures Relaxed

Netflix covid19

More evidence of the direct correlation between the recent surge of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) and over-the-top (OTT) services and lockdown orders have been revealed by Strategy Analytics which has seen the uptake of such services as countries have loosened lockdown measures.

In a new study, Covid-19’s Impact on SVOD, the analyst surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 4,000 US adults in March, April and May 2020 and found surge in users of services during the stay-at-home period was not always sustained once people were allowed to move around more freely.

The study revealed that 42% of respondents had used Netflix in May, compared with 50% in April and 47% in March. User numbers of other services, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+, followed a similar “pandemic peak” pattern. By contrast, Apple TV+ and CBS All Access user number of users of both rose in both April and May.

Discussing underlying trends revealed in the study, Strategy Analytics said that it was somewhat ironically, Netflix may have suffered through being the most popular SVOD service, as it appeared to have attracted many new but ultimately temporary users during the pandemic.

Strategy Analytics director of TV and media strategies and Covid-19’s Impact on SVOD report author Michael Goodman said that the SVOD leader’s next quarterly results would be watched with interest in case its strong Q1 performance is not sustained into Q2. “We still believe that Netflix numbers will exceed expectations overall during 2020, but now that the pandemic impact is waning, the company will face more traditional challenges associated with customer retention, win-back and targeting the right content to appropriate interests and demographics,” he remarked.

Added David Mercer, VP, Media and Intelligent Home: “It’s not surprising that there was a spike in demand for video services as many people were stuck at home for several weeks. SVOD services have benefited to varying degrees, and they must all now focus on retaining customers who have joined recently as well as ensuring that their content development strategies are on track. This will prove challenging for many players, given the continuing crisis in video production as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.”