Streaming viewing rose 26% in the U.S. from March 9 to March 23 as viewers stayed home to avoid spreading the coronavirus, streaming intelligence company Conviva reported.

The increases were largest in daytime, with a 39% jump between 10 a.m and 5 p.m. as people streamed news, shows and movies.

“The last three weeks have dramatically changed how we work, socialize and interact. As we all adjust to the new normal, streaming and social video have become even more important to many American households,” said Bill Demas, CEO of Conviva. “While the circumstances are unique and the shifting primetime is surprising, the streaming growth is not. We anticipate streaming providers will retain new viewers long after the coronavirus crisis has ended, as viewers embrace the variety and flexibility of the medium.”

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The increases were largest in daytime, with a 39% jump between 10 a.m and 5 p.m.

As more viewers stayed home watching throughout the day, the primetime peak shifted with viewing spread more evenly across more hours of the day. 

Conviva found that while viewing was up in most hours and most dayparts, it was down during primetime, registering a 2% decline. The peak in viewing shifted from primetime to earlier in the day, with viewing increasing by 38% in the 10 a.m. hour, 43% at 11 a.m., 12% at noon, 41% at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., 37% at 3 p.m. and 33% at 4 p.m.

Streaming hours in the U.S. increased 25.6% from March 3 to March 23 and 17.4% from March 10 to March 23. 

“In the span of just three weeks, as the world closed businesses and urged people to stay home, streaming surged as an escapist outlet,” the Conviva report said.

The increase in streaming was not just an American phenomenon. Globally, streaming hours were up 20.7% between March 3 and March 23 and 14.7% from March 10 to March 23.

Conviva also found that people are tuning to social media sites including Facebook and Youtube to watch news videos about the COVID-19 crisis.

Total views for local news outlets on Facebook were up 247% for the 30 days from Feb. 21 to March 23, compared to the prior 30 day period. The average increase in viewing per video was 18%. Local news outfits increased Facebook posts by 19% and videos by 7%.

Twitter posted even bigger gains, with viewer engagement up 196%.

There was also a surge in likes, dislikes and comments on YouTube videos, with engagement rates for both global news and local news up 50% in the past 30 days.

Annually, Conviva measures in excess of a 500 million unique viewers watching 150 billion streams across more than 180 countries. 

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