Since the introduction of protective measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, streaming services, television channels and torrent sites have seen a sharp increase in subscribers, viewers and visitor numbers. Various media reports and research data confirm this trend, including Forbes, Torrentfreak, and Comscore. Although this may not come as a surpise, It is striking that films and series about virus outbreaks are very popular. Live television has also seen an increase in viewership.
Number of Disney+ Weekly Subscribers Tripled
From Saturday, March 14 through to Monday, March 16, the number of Disney+ subscribers tripled compared to the previous week. This is the biggest growth for Disney + so far in 2020. A very welcome increase, since Disney had to close their theme parks in the US, Europe and Asia due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
What Are People Watching on Disney+ during the Coronavirus Outbreak?
Following stricter protective measures put in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Disney+ decided to push the release date of some movies and series forward. Consequently, Frozen 2 and Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are already available on Disney+. It therefore comes as no surprise that these two movies are in the top 10 trending Disney+ movies and series, together with some newly released classics, Disney+ Originals and children’s series.
|Trending movies and series on Disney+|
|1. Frozen 2|
|2. The Lion King (2019)|
|4. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse|
|5. Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.|
|6. Star Wars: The Clone Wars|
|8. The Mandolorian|
|9. Sofia the First|
|10. Aladdin (2019)|
Netflix has Seen its Subscriber Base Grow by 47%
Netflix has been doing well for years, but it seems that the COVID-19 outbreak is boosting their figures even further. Netflix has seen its subscriber base grow by 47% between 14 and 16 March. This is supported by data reported by Forbes, which is based on the US Netflix user group. Netflix shareholders seem to share the belief that Netflix will benefit from the cocooning effect. While many other companies are struggling with sharp falls in their share price, Netflix’ shares rose 7% in February alone. However, according to a message on Yahoo, growth is expected to slow in the longer term, or the number of subscribers will once again reduce. This is because Netflix is a luxury product and with the upcoming expected economic downturn thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, subscriptions to these products are likely to be cancelled.
What Are People Watching on Netflix during the Coronavirus Outbreak?
Movies related to viruses and virus outbreaks are currently very popular. It is therefore not unexpected that the documentary “Pandemic” is trending on Netflix. In addition, the following films and series are also attracting a lot of viewers:
|Trending movies and series on Netflix (US)|
|1. Tiger King|
|2. All American|
|3. Self Made|
|4. The Platform|
|5. Love is Blind|
|6. Tom Segura: Ball Hog|
|7. The Letter for the King|
|8. The Occupant|
|9. Boss Baby: Back in Business|
|10. 100 Humans|
In many countries people are watching American Netflix. This is because the US Netflix database has a much wider range of movies and series available. Consequently, many people outside the US are looking for ways to access the American version of Netflix.
Some Streaming Services See the Number of New Customers Double
In some countries, streaming services are seeing a significant increase in the number of subscribers. A spokesperson for the Dutch streaming service Videoland reports: “When protective measures against the coronavirus outbreak were put in place, we saw the number of new Videoland customers double.”
Videoland also released the second season of “Mocro Mafia” earlier than planned as there was a lot of demand from users due to COVID-19 measures put in place. “Now that many people are staying at home, Videoland and the cast of Mocro Mafia received numerous messages from people asking us to release the new season earlier.”
Other local streaming services such as Cinetree, a streaming service for arthouse movies, are also seeing an increase in the number of subscribers. “The number of visits has increased considerably in recent weeks”, said founder of Cinetree, Actress Hanna Verboom, in an interview with the Dutch newspaper AD.
Streaming Services Lower Video Quality
At the European Commission’s request, Netflix and YouTube have temporarily lowered the quality of their videos. This is because, the increase in the number of videos being streamed may otherwise overload the internet. Consequently, the European Commissioner, Thierry Breton, brought this possible issue to the attention of several tech companies. Amazon, Disney+, Apple TV +, Facebook and Instagram have also lowered the quality of their videos. As a result, the audio and video quality of streamed videos are slightly inferior, but at least the internet remains accessible, even for media reporting on the coronavirus outbreak.
TV Ratings are Rising Sharply, News and Current Affairs are Particularly Popular
Television is one of the major forms of mass media in many countries. In times of crisis, such as with the current coronavirus crisis, when most people are staying home out of necessity, watching TV becomes more popular. Consequently, many television channels are seeing a significant increase in their viewing numbers.
In the Netherlands, the independent organization Stichting KijkOnderzoek examined the viewing behaviour of people who must stay at home as part of the coronavirus measures. In the past two weeks, people have been watching live television fifteen minutes longer per day than usual. So far, screen time in 2020 has increased by 33 minutes per day compared to the same period last year. Programs in the non-fiction genre are especially popular. News and current affairs programs, such as the news and press conferences about the VOCID-19 crisis, accounted for 38% of the total viewing time. Not surprisingly, there has been a significant drop in the amount of sporting events being watched as these have been largely cancelled due to COVID-19.
Torrents has also Seen an Increase in Download Frequency during the Coronavirus Crisis
According to Torrentfreak there has been a spike in the number of visitors to torrent sites since the coronavirus protective measures were put into place in Italy.
Also spiking is the interest in the movie “Contagion”. This movie is about a virus-related pandemic. It now features in the top 10 most downloaded torrents, even though the film was released in 2011. After torrent release group YTS released two new rips of “Contagion” last week, the movie was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, enough to earn a spot in the weekly top 10 of Torrentfreak’s most downloaded movies. According to Torrentfreak, it is the first time an older movie made its way to the top 10 list years after it was first released.
Which Movies and Series have been Downloaded the Most during the Coronavirus Outbreak?
As usual, Torrentfreak’s top 10 list consists mainly of recently released films. However, it is remarkable that the almost 10-year-old film Contagion has secured a place in this top 10 list.
|Top 10 torrent downloads|
|1. Star Wars: Episode IX|
|2. The Invisible Man|
|4. Sonic: The Hedgehog|
|5. Jumanji: The Next Level|
|6. The Hunt|
|7. Frozen 2|
This list also includes Frozen 2, even though this film is legally available via Disney+. Interestingly, apparently, some people prefer to download this movie through torrent networks instead of subscribing to a streaming service, although they run the risk of getting severe download fines.