Lockdown impact: Video consumption up by four times

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BY SIDDHI JAIN
New Delhi, June 24 (IANS)
Video streaming is at the forefront of the new normal, as a result of home sheltering worldwide in the last six months. According to a new report, Indian consumers are engaging with online video for an average of 5 hours and 16 minutes every day – which is the highest amongst the surveyed countries – even as the global video consumption average has quadrupled in the last six months.
“As people worldwide were forced to stay at home during the pandemic, online video has taken a whole new role as a top source of entertainment, social interactions and information. In fact, the global average of four hours and 3 minutes per day of online video viewing is a dramatic increase compared to a single hour average measured in the State of Online Video 2019 study just six months ago. In fact, over 85 per cent of people globally now watch up to six hours of online video per day,” a market research report by Limelight Networks said.
While most Indian users (about 43 per cent) watch online video for 4-6 hours, the country has the largest percentage (7.1 per cent) who watch more than 12 hours per day. The lowest average viewing hours is in South Korea, closely followed by France and the UK.
The report also found that as people age, online video viewing hours decrease, as younger people take more online classes, video chat with friends and play video games.
Given the significant increase in viewing hours per day, it’s not surprising that more than 70 per cent reported a spike in the amount of time they watched online video in the past two months. The largest increase was in India (about 85 per cent) and lowest in South Korea (7.4 per cent). The report also shows that around 68 per cent Indians said going virtual has allowed them to do most activities (work, school, hobbies) they did pre-COVID-19.
“During COVID-19, 89 per cent of people have used video to communicate. Video chat is most popular in India, where the majority of people (65 per cent) use it multiple times a day. A whopping two-thirds (64.3 per cent) of Indian consumers had their first esports experience during the pandemic. With other live events cancelled as well, more than two-thirds (68.8 per cent) of Indian respondents also attended their first virtual concert. Exercising is also going virtual as athletic facilities remain closed. Yoga has also been popular in India as it helped people to maintain physical fitness during the lockdown. In line with this trend, 55.6 per cent Indians said that they had participated in an online fitness class and another 26.8 per cent plan to so in the next six months,” Limelight Networks said in its “How Video is Changing the World” report.
In the last two months there was a rise in people attending online auctions. In fact, nearly one-third of people recently attended their first online auction, added the report. Online classes also have many, including professionals, hooked online.
“Beyond entertainment and social interactions, streaming enables easier access to critical information. Doctor’s visits have shifted to telehealth appointments with 49 per cent of people open to the idea, 22 per cent of people saying they’ve recently met virtually with their doctor and another 27 per cent planning to in the next 6 months. This is especially popular in Indiaand Scandinavia. This is another example of a behavior that may continue long term, especially in regions where there is a shortage of medical professionals or where many people do not live near a medical facility,” the report revealed about the state of telehealth.
Overall, the situation is promising for online video. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed streaming beyond entertainment and news and people are increasingly using online video to connect with others and get important information.
The survey was conducred in France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Scandinavia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the US with a total of 5,000 global responses collected between April 29 and May 14, 2020.

(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@ians.in)