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Record-breaking 2020 film, TV viewership continues in 2021 first half

The study also revealed that viewing hours from January through June 2021 made up nearly a third (30%) of the time US consumers spent entertaining themselves.

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Yet despite this uptick in viewing, screen-entertainment spending declined by 1% over the period and there were large differences between the first quarter and the second, since the first quarter compares against viewing before the rise in Covid-19 cases led to widespread stay-at-home orders, while the second quarter compares against the rising viewership levels achieved as people across the US stayed home.

Watching films in cinemas remained significantly below pre-pandemic levels in the first half of the year. NPD noted that in part, entertainment time was diverted to in-home viewing through premium release windows and the proliferation of Netflix and other subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services. However, the reduced number of theatrical movie releases limits the flow of new release movies into the ecosystem so there’s less content available through other video distribution channels.

SVOD engagement has also pulled back, as consumers spend more of their time on going out to eat, travel, and other experiential activities. Time spent on experiences has grown 104% this year compared with last year. Traditional content viewing on cable, satellite TV, and packaged media was found to continue to migrate to streaming and free streaming video (FAST/AVOD) is now a growing supplement to viewers’ SVOD services.

The digital transaction business experienced gains in 2020 and is now positioned to retain viewer engagement. These gains are happening, in part, because of shorter exhibition windows and the release of premium on-demand offerings.

“Looking ahead, the mandate for the industry is to retain viewer engagement and win the battle for share of viewers’ time,” said John Buffone, connected intelligence and media entertainment industry analyst for NPD. “As consumers migrate back to experiential activities, the available time to engage in watching TV shows and movies will naturally decline.” Rapid TV News

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