Nielsen says Coronavirus outbreak could cause streaming to increase of 60% or more

Whether the coronavirus outbreak has you working from home or simply stuck at home, there’s a good chance you’re doing more streaming than usual.

But if an estimate from Nielsen is accurate, you could be doing a lot more streaming. The media analytics company estimates that online streaming could increase by as much as 60% during the next few months.

That estimation comes from looking at the Nielsen “Total Audience Report” from streaming TV usage during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and major winter snowstorms from 2016. During those times, total streaming increased by up to 55%.

“Considering that consumers around the globe are already leaning into the growing ray of content options,” Nielsen said, “a 60% increase is significant.”

Of course, it’s worth noting that this report was issued on March 10, before several states issued “shelter in place” orders restricting all non-essential travel. Given recent changes, it’s safe to assume streaming increase will soar beyond 60%, perhaps even doubling.

That same report also noted that a full 75% of consumers had “recently” added a new streaming platform or device, so people aren’t just watching their current options more – they’re adding new options.

Beyond simply finding content to stave off boredom though, many people are turning to streaming options for news about the outbreak. Both South Korea and Italy saw about a 15% increase in television consumption as the sickness spread in their regions.

Artie Beaty