How has COVID-19 Affected the Digital, Media and Content Sector?

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on public health and the overall state of the economy in the UK. However, it has also caused unprecedented damage to the digital, media, and technology sector from the TV industry to video production agencies.

The Connected Home

The webinar session revealed that smart home devices had seen considerable growth in demand between the second half of 2017 and the first half of 2020: during this period, the adoption of smart home devices had more than doubled, reaching 34% – a third of all UK households, which translates to 9.5 million homes.

In terms of specific devices, more than 27% of all households in the UK had a smart speaker in H1 2020 – an increase from 10% in the first half of 2018. During this same period, the uptake of smart security doubled to 6% from 3%, and smart lighting increased from 4% to 7%. The uptake of smart domestic devices reached 6% in the first half of 2020.

The Lockdown has Led to a Drop in Internet Performance

The internet is an integral part of any connected home, and according to our data, 87% of consumers in the UK have a home broadband connection. This figure also applies to mobile internet connectivity. Around 63% of UK consumers still have a landline – an essential requirement for broadband in some ISP’s packages.

In general, 36% of consumers reported that they were encountering buffering issues and 33% complained that their download speeds had significantly dropped ever since the lockdown while 25% stated that their internet connection had become worse overall.

Subscriptions During Lockdown

The session further looked at how the subscription ecosystem has been affected during the pandemic.

According to the findings, in April, 75% had subscribed to a video streaming service, 53% had subscribed to pay-TV, 48% were subscribed to a music streaming platform, 15% had signed up to an online gaming service like Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus, 12% had a sports channel subscription, and every one in nine consumers (11%) had, in some way, subscribed news media.

However, by July, the number of subscriptions had slightly dropped from the April figures. And this dip has been mainly attributed to decisions by the 18-34 year old demographic to cut short their average number of subscriptions from 2.45 to 2.35. This caused the overall average to drop from 2.2 to 2.11

However, despite other sectors being hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the gaming industry was enjoying record sales during the lockdown: 36% reported that they had purchased more games in April, with the figure further rising to 39% by July.

An increased Number of Brits Watched Movies, News, and TV During the Lockdown

According to our data, the consumption of media had risen across different formats during the lockdown. This shouldn’t come as much of surprise considering the amount of time people have been spending indoors. The session revealed that people keen on learning any new information in regards to the coronavirus: in April, around half (54%) of the consumers reported that they watched more news, while 20% or a fifth reported that they watched more documentaries. One in every 10 (9%) increased their intake of educational programming while 8% watched more science TV shows. However, by July, there was a general decrease in appetite for news: the number of people watching more news had reduced from 54% to 41%.

Even though more people were watching the news, a considerable section of the demographic said that they didn’t trust the news. During the lockdown, the percentage of Brits who stated that they didn’t trust the news rose to 46% from 35%. About three-quarters (72%) said that they were fed up with the news and more than half (55%) sighted too much negativity.

As for entertainment, 37% or about 4 in ten stated that they had increased their film consumption in April, and 22% said that they had watched more drama. Considering how the pandemic had downed people’s moods, it is understandable why 13% of consumers watched more comedy shows while 7% tuned to kids programming. Some little light-hearted entertainment can significantly make your day better.

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