Video use up 4x from six months ago

As people turn to video for remote working and socializing in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a new report from content delivery network provider Limelight Networks is quantifying just how much video use has risen.

The global pandemic has shaped a “unique situation where the only way for many people to connect became virtual, using social media, video chatting and other online modes of communication,” Limelight noted. Consumers are now watching online video for a little more than four hours a day, on average — four times as much as they were just six months ago. And, Limelight says, its survey of 5,000 consumers around the world shows that increased usage of online video is here to stay, because users are already indicating that they will use video more from now on.

Limelight’s new report is based on responses from 5,000 consumers age 18+ in France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Scandinavia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States, who watch at least one hour of online video per day. Those consumers reported watching an average of just over four hours a way, four times what they were watching just six months ago.

One-third of survey participants said that working from home became an option for them during the pandemic. While daily life has continued to be disrupted, the pandemic has “pushed streaming beyond entertainment and news. People are increasingly using online video to connect with others and get important information,” Limelight concluded, noting that for work in particular, 88% of survey participants said that video helps “ease collaboration and improves efficiency in the workplace.”

Another recent report, Brightcove’s Global Video Index for the first quarter of 2020, found that business continuity during the COVID-19 crisis is “heavily dependent on having access to video technology”, and that the use of enterprise video has skyrocketed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a 91% year-over-year increase in views of enterprise videos and a 35% increase in minutes watched, according to a new report.

Limelight also noted the large, global increase in video watching, reporting that “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% of people globally now watch up to six hours of online video per day.” The largest increase was in India, and the lowest increase was in South Korea, Limelight said.

People are also relying on video for exercise and socialization, with 55% of survey respondents saying that they had participated in a virtual workout or planned to; and nearly 90% of participants saying that they had used video to communicate with others. Even though time spent streaming video decreased with a viewer’s age, 60% of Baby Boomers reported that they had used video for socializing and almost half said they used it daily. More than 70% of participants said that they had streamed news updates during the course of the pandemic.

Overall, Limelight said, people have “discovered the value of online video as an addition to entertainment, allowing them to maintain many activities,” for work and a variety of other activities. “As we enter our ‘new normal’ following the pandemic, many workplaces will likely shift to being more flexible with remote working options. Expect far reaching changes in how people socialize and work, impacting entertainment, travel, the commercial office market, and many others ways we can’t foresee yet. No matter what changes occur, online video will continue to be a key enabler,” the company concluded.

By  Kelly Hill