Major SVOD Platforms Saw Usage Drop as COVID-19 Measures Eased


New data from Strategy Analytics indicates that the surge in SVOD numbers seen at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. was not sustained once stay-at-home measures eased.

Strategy Analytics’ COVID-19’s Impact on SVOD found that 42 percent of respondents used Netflix in May, compared to 50 percent in April and 47 percent in March. Usage at Amazon Prime, Hulu and Disney+ followed a similar “pandemic peak” pattern. This trend was not in place for all SVOD services though: the number of users of both Apple TV+ and CBS All Access rose in both April and May.

“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 of TV and media strategies and the report’s author. “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.”

David Mercer, VP of media and intelligent home, added: “It’s not surprising that there was a spike in demand for video services as many people were stuck at home for several weeks. SVOD services have benefited to varying degrees, and they must all now focus on retaining customers who have joined recently as well as ensuring that their content development strategies are on track. This will prove challenging for many players, given the continuing crisis in video production as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.”