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Streaming-in-place

Apr 02, 2020 • Aaron Goldman

Here’s hoping this week’s newsletter finds you healthy and safe. As many parts of the world adopt shelter-in-place protocols, the use of streaming services has increased significantly.

Over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) top the list of changes in personal media consumption due to COVID-19 with 80% of people reporting increased use of streaming services per Advertiser Perceptions. So it should be no surprise that CTV ad requests are up 105% according to Beachfront via TV Rev.

Meanwhile, time spent on HBO streaming is up 40% per Warner Media, Facebook live streams are up 50% per Tubefilter, and Twitch use is up 10% according to StreamElements via Bloomberg. (H/T to Videonuze for rounding up these stats.)

Before the crisis escalated globally, I wrote in MarTech Advisor that “the power of brand — or lack thereof — is going to emerge as a defining factor in the streaming wars.” The pandemic has only hastened this outcome and the biggest brands in the space are accelerating the pace with Disney dropping Onward to digital and Disney+ well ahead of schedule and ESPN announcing an early release of the Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance.

As for the impact on advertisers, the POV I shared with AdAge in response to new research from Kochava certainly applies here: “To me the key takeaway here is that brands should avoid the open web and stick with platforms where consumers are persistently logged in and engaging with personalized content and ads.”

From the standpoint of humanity at large, COVID-19 has brought a renewed affirmation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s hard to think about self-actualization at a time when physiological and safety conditions are paramount. But it seems we can all agree on distraction as a key element at every layer of motivation.

Whatever your personal experience with COVID-19, there’s likely a vacillation between extreme bouts of personal isolation and profound moments of shared experience. For me, I’ve found that Tiger King on Netflix suits just about any mood and apparently I’m not alone as we tracked a 1061% increase in tweets week-over-week at the end of March.

Maslow also offered a new pinnacle for his hierarchy – self-transcendence – that’s characterized by peak experiences defined as “feelings of limitless horizons opening up to the vision, the feeling of being simultaneously more powerful and also more helpless than one ever was before, the feeling of great ecstasy and wonder and awe, the loss of placing in time and space with, finally, the conviction that something extremely important and valuable had happened, so that the subject is to some extent transformed and strengthened even in his daily life by such experiences.”

When it comes to a pandemic, the idea of transcendence is especially alluring. And when it comes to streaming-in-place, it’s clear that good storytelling is a great escape.

Now more than ever, we are truly in it together. And, as always, we at 4C are here for you so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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