Ad-Supported Streaming Was Up 148% in April

Streaming tv and remoteThe fact that people are streaming more during social distancing is old news, but what exactly are they streaming? Some recent insight from ReelGood gives us a new look at what’s popular these days. 

This data comes from nearly 4 million ReelGood users. If you’re not familiar with ReelGood, it’s a “streaming dashboard” of sorts that combines all streaming services into one place and makes it easier to track down specific content. 

First, let’s take a look at subscription services like Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. For the past six weeks, viewership is up over 400% compared to the first week of March. The week of April 13 alone was one of the biggest weeks, nearly doubling the week before. 

When it comes to free, ad-supported services, things are up 148% for the week of April 13 compared to the beginning of March. Still a solid gain for sure, but nowhere near the gain that paid subscription services had. 

Of course, there’s a very important caveat here. ReelGood notes that their total number of users grew over this time as well, so any increases in usage doesn’t necessarily mean people are watching that much more. In fact, April 13, the week of biggest gains for both free and paid did indeed see more than three times as many signups as the beginning of March. But on average, the total weekly streaming usage is up 26%. 

Diving a little deeper into what type of content people are streaming, ReelGood looked at subscription content, free content, rented or purchased content, and TV everywhere content (like FX, ABC, and FOX). Subscription services claimed just under half of the total viewership at 44% (33% of that percentage being Netflix alone with Prime next at 24% and Hulu at 20%). But free services still accounted for about 30% (Tubi the most popular at 25% and Crackle in second place with 12%). TV everywhere made up 17% and purchased and rented content a little under 10%. 

What can we take from this data? Of course ReelGood only represents a small portion of the streaming community. But it’s probably fair to say their customers are devoted streamers are it’s geared towards people with multiple subscriptions so the data has some value. 

People are streaming more these days for sure, and in a fairly strong majority, paid streaming still stands well above free, ad-driven streaming in terms of total usage. Netflix is still king, but Amazon Prime still has a pretty strong following. And finally, people are certainly willing to use free services, but there’s far from a clear favorite.

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