Frankfurt, 22/06/2021. Streaming services with relevant content have benefited from the high interest in news during the corona pandemic. The online video-on-demand services of the public broadcasters were watched by considerably more people in early 2021 than in the fall of 2020. Video viewing on news portals has also risen sharply. These are the conclusions of the 2021-I Platform Study. “Higher interest in information is driving video viewing as a whole,” says Kerstin Niederauer-Kopf, CEO of AGF Videoforschung.
In the study done for AGF by market research company Kantar, almost a third (30.2 percent) of respondents said during the survey period that within the last four weeks they had watched services by public broadcasters, which in addition to information content also had successful fiction formats in their video-on-demand services during the survey period. In the preceding wave 2020-II it had been 23.1 percent. Viewership of broadcasters’ services rose commensurately overall, from 29.5 to 35.9 percent. This brings the sum total of these offerings to above Netflix (32.3 percent).
The rise in video usage on news portals like Bild.de and Spiegel.de, which increasingly include video content, has been similarly strong, as 21.5 percent of respondents watched them (2020-II: 16.4 percent). “The numbers reflect the course of the pandemic. The first lockdown in the spring of 2020 was followed by a near-normal summer with few restrictions in public life. The second lockdown starting November 2020 brought high uncertainty and tight restrictions for retail, schools and restaurants. These restrictions lasted much longer than the ones in the spring of 2020. This situation very likely led to high video and especially news viewing,” says Kerstin Niederauer-Kopf.
Amazon Prime Video coming up from behind
Netflix grew notably in the previous two waves, but its viewership has now declined slightly by one percentage point, to 32.3 percent. However, in the current wave 2021-I Prime Video shifted up a gear, with 24.1 percent or almost one in four respondents saying that they had watched Amazon’s streaming service in the preceding four weeks. This narrows the gap to Netflix substantially. The growth for Prime Video corresponds to the overall growth in Amazon Prime customers. That online marketer has benefited from the lack of physical shopping opportunities in the past months. The steady expansion of Prime services will also have had a positive effect on viewership.
Disney+ is likewise on a growth track. 8.6 percent of respondents said they had watched Disney+ in the preceding four weeks (2020-II: 6.6 percent). The number of streaming services viewed on average rose from 1.3 to 1.5 overall.
This is also evident in viewing activity in the last three months. Netflix did not increase its viewership (33.4 percent) during this period for the first time. Prime Video (25.3 percent), Disney+ (9.8 percent) and Dazn (3.6 percent) grew. Megathek Magenta TV entered the Top 5 for the first time with 2.7 percent.
Viewing happens on the big screen, YouTube looks good on smartphones
The number of households with at least one television connected to the internet has risen strongly to 47.2 percent (2020-II: 42.0 percent). “In the last three years that number has almost doubled,” says Kerstin Niederauer-Kopf.
Persons in such households like to watch streaming and video-on-demand (VOD) services on the big screen, and especially offerings from TV broadcasters. 64.3 percent of respondents say they like to watch VOD services from broadcasters, especially the widely distributed and freely available public broadcasters, on the big screen. Netflix (76.2 percent), Prime Video (75.9 percent) and Disney+ (67.0 percent) also show strong viewing on smart TVs. Disney+ has the highest viewing on game consoles (11.6 percent).
YouTube is the king of the smartphone. While it gets 29.2 percent viewing on smart TVs, it gets 71.1 percent on smartphones. This puts YouTube far beyond all other streaming services on these devices. Videos on news portals get numbers that are almost as high at 70.7 percent.
Internet use by children remains high
Internet use by children aged 3 to 13, which jumped in wave 2020-II, remains high at 76.4 percent. Homeschooling and a lack of leisure activities are the culprits. Reopenings and the return to the normal school day took place only after the survey for wave 2021-I. “It will be interesting to see whether this was just a pandemic phenomenon, or whether internet use by children and pre-teens will remain at this level long-term,” says Niederauer-Kopf.
AGF uses the Platform Study survey to supplement its viewing measurements. For the survey, twice yearly Kantar does computer-aided personal interviews (CAPI) around video viewing and media use by the German-speaking population aged 14 and up in TV households. In the course of this, interviewers also visit households so they can get highly valid information on devices and the availability of pay TV and Video on Demand offerings. The fieldwork for the most recent wave was done from 22 February to 18 April 2021.
Name of the study: TV Platform
Frequency: Twice annually
Survey methods: Computer-aided personal interviews (CAPI) and household visits
2020-I due to corona also computer-aided telephone interviews (CATI) by trained and qualified face-to-face interviewers
Sample: Proportional representative random sample based on the ADM face-to-face random sample system
Wave 2021-I: Case number n= 2,392; Wave 2020-II: Case number n= 2,451
Fieldwork: Wave 2021-I: 22/2-18/04/21
Wave 2020-II: 25/08-09/10/20
Universe: German-speaking population aged 14 and older in TV households (private households with German-speaking main income earner or persons in household aged 3 and older)