Strange times are upon us.

The current situation has brought many changes in our daily lives and the ways we do business.

While many businesses around the world are struggling, others are thriving. 

People are stuck in their houses, and they have to kill time somehow. What’s first that comes to mind? 

TV!

Nielsen reports spikes in media consumption across Italy, South Korea, and the US. It’s estimated that this situation can lead to a 60% increase in media consumption.

Based on this data, one might assume that streaming services are entering their new golden age. But this situation is a double sword actually. Even though there’s a boost in media consumption, the fear is that it’s only temporary.

For example, as Medianova reports, Netflix had to suspend production on all series and films for at least two weeks. That means no new content for who knows how long, and Netflix is known for its Original movies and shows. The company hasn’t issued a statement regarding this yet.

One of the problems is also the fear that people will start saving money and cut all unnecessary expenses because the economic future is quite uncertain for now.

Let’s see how the five leading streaming services are responding to the situation.

#1 Netflix

When talking about leading streaming services, everyone would agree that Netflix is the ultimate leader among others.  

The pie chart below which shows the share of voice of each streaming service proves the point. 

Share of voice pie chart

Netflix has infiltrated our lives and became part of our vocabulary with regular catchphrases like “Netflix & Chill”. That’s why it is no wonder it occupies such a huge percentage. 

Here’s what changed for Netflix in the time of corona.

After the coronavirus started to spread globally, Netflix decided to reduce the streaming quality in Europe for 30 days at least in order to prevent possible collapse due to overwhelming usage. Everyone finally has time to binge-watch series and catch up on movies, and Netflix is trying to make that possible. 

Despite this measure, Netflix did collapse for a certain period.

$100 million relief fund

According to Variety, Netflix has set up a $100 million relief fund to help members of the creative community who have been left unemployed and without a way to earn an income during the coronavirus crisis.

Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos issued a statement saying:

“The COVID-19 crisis is devastating for many industries, including the creative community. Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally — leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs. These include electricians, carpenters, and drivers, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis. This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide.”

Remote movie nights

Coronavirus also messed up peoples’ movie night plans, but a Chrome extension called “Netflix Party” came to rescue. “Netflix party” allows you to watch movies with your friends remotely and chat at the same time. 

According to our analysis, peoples’ reactions were predominantly positive! 

Positive-Negative sentiment ratio

Netflix spoiling its own shows?

In the last couple of days, images of Netflix’s shows spoilers began circulating on social media. The posts (like the one below) said that Netflix is urging people to stay at home by putting up billboards with spoilers.

As you can see, even Netflix US reacted to this post and clarified that this is not their campaign.

Forbes reports that this idea came from two students, Seine Kongruangkit and Matithorn Prachuabmoh Chaimoungkalo from the Miami Ad School Europe in Hamburg, Germany. They thought that their government wasn’t communicating effectively how dangerous the pandemic was, so they decided to do something themselves.

What’s truly fascinating in this case is that soooo many people fell for this. Even marketing experts hugely shared this on their social media accounts with detailed analyses which were predominantly positive. What’s disturbing in this whole thing is that a simple Google search could show you that the news is not true. How did experts fall for this?

Furthermore, let’s use simple logic. Let’s say that Netflix really did that. What about people who have to go outside every day? Medical workers, delivery, police, etc. Why would Netflix want to spoil their shows for people who are working the hardest right now? Why would Netflix want to spoil their shows for people in general? 

Experts should especially be careful about posting/promoting things they read online. If experts are susceptible to this type of news, we can’t blame regular people for the same thing either. 

#2 HBO

According to Variety, HBO has seen a 40% spike in views since March 14. What’s also interesting is that binge-watching shows (three or more episodes per session) are up for 65%. On the other hand, Variety also reports that it’s not yet known whether HBO is gaining new customers or the increase is coming from existing ones.

HBO’s shows

Just like late-night talk show hosts started filming their shows at home, two biggest hosts on HBO, John Oliver and Bill Maher, also decided to continue filming theirs.

Like Netflix, HBO was forced to delay production and filming of many shows, including “Succession” and “Barry”, HBO’s most popular shows at the moment.

Free shows for all!

HBO announced that from April 3, they’ll provide 500 hours of programming to stream for free on HBO NOW and HBO GO without a subscription.

Viewers will be able to watch some of the most popular HBO shows and documentaries such as Succession, The Sopranos, The Wire, McMillion$, The Apollo, et. Also, Warner Bros. movies such as Crazy, Stupid, Love, Lego Movie 2, Arthur and many more will be available as well.

Who washes the washmen?

The cast of HBO’s Watchmen created a video in which they demonstrate how to wash your hands for 20 seconds. The video was viewed over 350 thousand times on Twitter.

Check it out!

#3 Disney Plus

Disney Plus also saw a huge increase in viewership since the virus outbreak. As TvRev reports, they just launched their platform internationally, and on the first day in Europe, they had 5 million app downloads. On their platform, Disney offers Disney Vault, Marvel movies, Pixar films, and National Geographic documentaries.

Unfortunately, Disney Plus is not available in all European countries. For example, it’s not available here in Croatia. C’mon Disney!

(Royal) influencers

When it comes to marketing, Disney was quite savvy in that regard. To attract the Italian audience, they hired Chiara Ferragni to promote their platform. This is a savvy move for various reasons. 

First, Ferragni is currently using her huge platform with over 19 million followers on Instagram alone to inform people how dangerous Coronavirus is, and urging people to be responsible and stay at home in this difficult time. Also, Ferragni and her husband Fedez raised over 4 million euros through the Go Fund Me page to help the intensive care unit at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan. This is an extraordinary example that shows how powerful influencers can be when they use that power for good.

Another reason is that Ferragni is a parent and posts about her son a lot on her social media. Many parents around the world who are currently balancing work life and their kids being at home 24/7 (and are the target audience for Disney Plus) can see her promoting Disney and subscribe themselves. Who’s ready for Frozen marathons?!

But, Ferragni is not the only ace Disney has in their sleeve. A few days ago they announced that Meghan Markle narrated their new documentary about elephants which comes out on April 3rd. 

That in itself brought Disney tons of publicity around the world and will surely bring them new curious subscribers who’ll want to see how the Duchess managed her new role. 

#4 Hulu 

Fake news is dangerous now more than ever. There’s myriad unsolicited advice and hacks circling around the social media regarding COVID-19. Some of those may be dangerous and it’s crucial that people turn to trusted sources for information.

That moved Hulu to partner with ABC News to live stream news 24/7 for their on-demand service subscribers. 

Another reason for doing so is the fact that many users do not have traditional pay-TV anymore.

#5 Amazon Prime Video

Coronavirus pandemic shut down every regular, social activity we did. Cinemas are no exception to that. Many movies were forced to postpone their premieres, and the ones who came out in February/beginning of March were struggling at the box office. 

That’s why many companies out their movies on streaming services in order to get some ROI after all. 

Because of that Amazon Prime made a Prime Video Cinema platform that streams movies that were recently in theaters. On Prime Video Cinema you can rent or buy movies such as Onward, Birds of Prey, Emma, Invisible man, etc. 

The only thing that may stop you from doing so is the price. Whether you rent or buy, you’ll have to pay $19.99 per movie

The spy who loved me

This news may make quarantined James Bond fans very happy. Amazon Prime is bringing all the James Bond movies (except Daniel Craig’s ones) to the streaming service.

That’s 21 movies to keep you entertained during the lockdown!

Generous Bezos

Until recently, Italy was the epicenter of Coronavirus. Despite that, many were still going out like nothing’s happening. That’s why Jeff Bezos decided to help the Italian government in their efforts to keep people safe at home.

According to Tutto Android, from the beginning until the end of March, Amazon Prime Video was free for the Italians living in the regions most hit with Coronavirus

Conclusion

These are challenging times for everyone in the world, and streaming services are one of the few things that make our lives easier and fun at the moment. 

All the movies/TV shows you were dying to see but didn’t have time for… Now it’s your chance to catch up!

Streaming services should step up their game, and now more than ever offer their customers value for their money.

It’ll be interesting to see how they’re going to tackle this challenge in the months ahead, since the isolation period, unfortunately, won’t be ending soon. Also, what’s going to happen with all the movies and shows that are put on hold. What alternatives will they offer?

Let’s wait and see! *grabs popcorn*

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