Netflix and Hulu are Losing Viewers Now that Pandemic Restrictions Have Relaxed

While the stay at home orders stemming from the current pandemic caused internet and entertainment consumption to skyrocket, streaming services are seeing opposite effects now that restrictions are lightening up across the globe. Since the pandemic started in March, Netflix saw the highest usage in April with viewership tapering off again in May.

According to research from Strategy Analytics, other services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ followed this same trend where users seemed to be more inclined to stream during the highest peak of quarantine, and then taper off their watching habits once more stores, restaurants and non-essential services began reopening in May.

Of the respondents surveyed, 47% used Netflix in March, with that number growing to 50% usage in April. However, only 42% of those people kept using Netflix in May. On the flip side, it looks like the pandemic may have helped other streaming services like Apple TV+ who saw steady growth from 11% of users to 19% from March to May. This could be because the shelter in place orders prompted them to try out new streaming options, found they liked it and continued to stream even when restrictions began to lift.

“Ironically Netflix may have suffered through being the most popular SVOD service, since it appears to have attracted many new but ultimately temporary users during the pandemic,” said Michael Goodman, Director, TV and Media Strategies who published the report. “Its next quarterly results will be watched with interest in case its strong Q1 performance is not sustained into Q2. We still believe that Netflix numbers will exceed expectations overall during 2020, but now that the pandemic impact is waning, the company will face more traditional challenges associated with customer retention, win-back and targeting the right content to appropriate interests and demographics.”

Since people were largely homebound during April, it seems like the perfect time to launch a new streaming service. That’s what the owners of Quibi thought. But despite viewers having nowhere to go and little to do, the short form streamer serving up “quick bites” still struggled to draw in viewers or generate interest.

On the flip side, HBO Max launched at the end of May and has seen substantially more success, reaching #1 in the Apple app store and close to 2 million downloads earlier this month.

Have your streaming habits changed over the course of the pandemic? Comment and let us know.

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