Viewers Streamed a Record 12.2 Billion Minutes in 2020

Most of 2020 was arguably spent on the couch in sweatpants, and that’s evident by the significant rise in the amount of streaming the industry saw. The total number of global streaming service subscriptions surpassed 1.1 billion at the end of last year, with the average household subscribing to 4 streaming services to keep themselves entertained.

Now, new data from Wistia reveals that time spent watching video increased by 249% since 2016, which is a huge deal. We went from watching about 3.5 billion minutes collectively to 12.2 billion minutes over the past 4 years. To put 12.2 billion minutes in perspective, that’s 23,211 years worth of video streaming. This increase is mostly attributed to a dramatic increase in video consumption at the onset of the pandemic.

Most of that increase happened in 2020, which can only be attributed to the pandemic changing our viewing habits. The report found that nearly an 85% increase in minutes happened in 2020.

The rise in time spent streaming began in March at the beginning of the pandemic, kept climbing in April and peaked in May surpassing 1.25 billion minutes. Streaming increased again in September and only slightly declined from there, but has never returned to pre-Covid levels as of yet.

There’s no real way to predict if streaming minutes will ever go back down to what they were before the pandemic. On one hand, people might go back to their regular activities as lockdown and social distancing measures lighten. But there’s a good chance people won’t give up all that screen time now that it’s become a big part of their lives.