|31 March, 2020

TV content, online streaming consumption spikes as coronavirus spreads

MBC Group reports significant surge in overall performance

Student working on laptop in library. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Student working on laptop in library. Image used for illustrative purpose.


As the global health pandemic continues to worsen, more people are isolating themselves at home and showing new consumption patterns. Consumers aren’t just increasingly ordering grocery deliveries, they are consuming more TV content and online streaming videos for entertainment.

Since the outbreak exploded in Wuhan, China about three months ago, authorities have been encouraging the public to observe social distancing or isolate themselves at home to avoid contracting the virus. The number of cases worldwide continues to rise unabated, climbing to more than 700,000 as of Monday.

New data suggested that the stay-at-home culture could be providing opportunities for certain businesses. The Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC) Group, for example, has reported a significant surge in its overall performance, as well as its individual channels, as viewers in the region stay at home.

Most countries across the globe have implemented a series of precautionary measures to stem the spread of the virus. Flights have been temporarily cancelled in affected areas and many other countries have shut down movie theaters, closed schools, malls, cafes and restaurants.

MBC Group said that “behavioral changes have resulted in greater consumption of premium television content and entertainment.”

In the third week of March, MBC Group’s television rating points (TRPs) increased by 13 percent compared to February, while the average time spent per day on television rose by 11 percent to 5.6 hours. Data from the group also showed a surge in ratings beyond the regular TV peak times.

Appetite for MBC’s content across its channels has likewise gone up. Al Arabiya saw an 85 percent increase in TRPs in the third week of March compared to February.

MBC Group’s share of the Saudi TV viewers audience during the third week of March stood at 52 percent, an 8 percent increase compared to February, while the competition grabbed the remaining 48 percent of the audience.

Streaming platforms

Elsewhere, streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Video and Youtube are seeing an increase in traffic, as more and more people spend their time on the couch.

The world's biggest streaming service provider Netflix saw traffic hitting all-time highs on March 20 and March 21.

YouTube, Amazon Prime and Netflix announced earlier in March that they will reduce their platform's streaming quality in Europe to reduce the strain on the internet.

The decision came after EU Commissioner Thierry Breton urged streaming services to take steps to prevent networks from becoming overloaded, as more people use the internet from home.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; editing by Cleofe Maceda)

( gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com )


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© ZAWYA 2020

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