nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

nScreenNoise – COVID-19 viewing impact update

nScreenMedia Video Podcast

Data continues to reveal how our viewing during shelter-in-place orders is changing. Roku should see a dramatic increase in viewing. So, why isn’t it showing up in its viewing data? Netflix continues to lead, but is Disney+ catching up? And TV news is riding high, but Fox News isn’t benefiting.


Once again this week, you can watch the video or read the piece, or both. They contain approximately the same information.

Roku viewing up, but not enough! (0:39)

With Roku’s dominant position in the connected TV market, it should be seeing a massive increase in streaming time. The sneak peek it provided of Q1 2020 numbers looks impressive. The company said Q1 streaming hours were up by 49% over the same quarter in 2019. However, the average active streamer only increased viewing by 8.4%, to 3 hours and 36 minutes per day. It should have grown much more.

Roku average active viewer daily streaming minutes

Roku says that average viewing times didn’t increase as much as expected because it added an inactivity timer in Q4 2019. If a viewer watches for four hours without touching the remote, a message screen asks if they are still watching. If there is no response, the Roku stops streaming and goes back to the home screen. The feature is likely responsible for a slight drop in average streaming time per viewer in Q4 versus Q3.

Warren Schlichting, SLING TV Group President, says that many people complained about the service’s inactivity timer. In the end, the company disabled it.

Netflix biggest stay-at-home audience, Disney+ doing well (probably) (3:16)

Nielsen data shows that Netflix continues to dominate the shelter-in-place streaming home. In the week of February 24, the average connected TV home streamed 127.6 mins. Netflix was 31% of the time, and the other category was 28%. The ‘other’ class is significant because it includes Disney+. A month later, when shelter-in-place orders were widespread, streaming minutes increased 27%, to 161.4. Netflix increased its share to 33%, and ‘other’ grew to 29%.

Were there any losers in Nielsen’s data? Since Amazon Prime Video’s share of streaming minutes declined from 9% to 7%, it could be considered a loser. However, it still gained streaming minutes, increasing from 10.4 minutes per week to 11.3.

TV viewing settling at a higher level, Fox News not so much (5:11)

Alphonso refreshed its snapshot of smart TV viewing this week. The company says that traditional TV viewing hours have settled about 40% higher, and cable TV viewing households have settled at 50% higher.

MSNBC is the big winner in cable news, with viewing households up by 50% since shelter-in-place orders came into effect. Fox News could be considered the loser as the number of household viewing it hasn’t changed.

The number of households watching broadcast channels hasn’t changed much either. Though this might not sound like a win, it is. Broadcasters usually rely on local and national sports to fill out their schedules. Since there are no live sports, retaining viewers is a big win. As well, late-night talk show hosts are doing well with their in-home produced versions of their shows versus in-studio. Alphonso says Jimmy Kimmel is watched in about the same number of homes as before. Stephen Colbert’s audience is up 10%, and Jimmy Fallon’s up 20%.


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