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With More Americans Staying Home, Premium Subscription Viewing and Streaming Experience Big Audience Boost

With millions of families around the world adapting to the new realities of social distancing, television viewership patterns are shifting significantly as Americans stay home and turn to their television for news and entertainment.

While the world adjusts to these shifting norms, Samba TV has been working with many of our partners to leverage data in order to shed light into these shifts.  We shared a first look at how consumer behaviors are impacting daytime television last week, as viewership spiked across the board for news networks and children’s programming. This week, Samba TV took a closer look at how premium subscription viewing and streaming behaviors are also changing.

Samba’s newest data sets, which were recently mentioned in Media Post, deal directly with time spent streaming across top platforms, Netflix and Amazon, and time spent watching top subscription channels, HBO, Showtime and Starz. 

Right off the bat, one thing is clear: Streaming is Booming. Samba’s analysis of total time spent watching Netflix and/or Amazon Prime from March 12 to March 18 found significant double-digit increases compared to one week prior. 

Looking at just one day this past week, Samba’s analysis found an average increase of 41% in the total time spent streaming on March 18, compared to the same day, one week prior.

Additionally, subscription TV time has more than doubled. Looking at the top six premium subscription channels, which include HBO, HBO2, Showtime, Showtime2, Starz and Starz Encore, we found that on average time spent watching premium programming more than doubled between March 17 and March 23, 2020 when compared to the same time period in 2019.  

Total daytime viewing of these channels was also up by more than double. Starz Encore was by far the biggest year-over-year percentage gainer, with total time spent more than tripling for the week when compared to the same time period one year ago.

As audiences turn to premium channels for programs, they are not just watching new content. Shows like Game of Thrones experienced 14% increases month-over-month in viewership as Americans revisit older content or become introduced to it for the first time. 

Just as we witnessed linear TV viewership patterns shift in recent weeks, these same trends are impacting the core streaming platforms and the most popular subscription channels. 


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