The Impact of the Coronavirus on Video Streaming Content

With all the news about the continuously-changing situations and effects surrounding the coronavirus, it’s ambiguous how long this will last. Also, it’s unclear how much the coronavirus’ impact will affect the economy and even the TV industry.

Technically, no business is left untouched by this pandemic. And when it comes to the entertainment industry, it’s among those that suffered the most. Movie theaters and clubs closed, while festivals, concerts, and other similar events were completely cancelled.

But when it comes to video streaming content, how much did the coronavirus impact this industry?

What Is The Coronavirus?

The coronavirus or COVID-19 is a contagious illness coming from a newly identified coronavirus. It’s a family of diseases ranging from common colds to the dangerous MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus. It also includes SARs, which is the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus.

Those people who were unfortunately infected by the virus are said to experience mild to moderate respiratory issues. It’s also said that they can recover without having to go through any special treatment.

However, the coronavirus impact on the elderly and people with underlying medical issues are greater, making them more susceptible. These include cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

Effects On Entertainment – Impact Of Coronavirus On Video Streaming Content

Since the outbreak early in January 2020, the coronavirus quickly spread to global areas, mostly in Europe. The country that was most stricken is Italy, and affected regions across Europe have over 450 million people under lockdown.

The coronavirus impact caused this lockdown, where movements of the population are heavily restricted. People are forced to work from their homes, while some binge on multimedia in various streaming applications during the lockdown.

Although television viewing is possible right at home, the creation and production still involve bringing individuals on the set. It may sound easy, but during this pandemic, things are far more challenging.

Changes In The Industry of Content Streaming

The great efforts to prevent the COVID-19 triggered significant changes in television. A lot of productions have stalled, and writers’ areas shifted to tele-conferences.

For the broadcasting networks and streamers, they continue to adjust their schedule to accommodate any disruptions in content supplies. Because of the coronavirus impact, even the scheduled Primetime Emmy Awards for September is deviating from their tradition.

Due to the heavy quarantine and lockdown orders issued in highly affected areas, an increase in home entertainment was given. But despite it becoming easier and cheaper to stream shows, music, and movies, video piracy is unfortunately increasing.

Despite the large number of streaming options available, namely Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO, illegal downloads are growing. This result is based on internet search trends from areas that have great coronavirus impact.

Google search for Netflix increased in Italy, and that also goes for searches regarding local pirate sites. For download services such as Altadefinizione and EuroStreaming, these have increased since Italy’s first cases of the virus were confirmed. These results were according to TorrentFreak, a file sharing-focused publication.

Major Shifts – Impact Of Coronavirus On Video Streaming Content

A lot of TV shows and films are being called off. So, streaming services continue to face a surplus of content to offer the viewers. These services are quite fearful of the content, together with the rising threat of a recession. It’s because the entire situation may cause users to opt-out of their subscriptions.

If mass unsubscriptions occur, it may lead to job losses and dropping profit revenues/margins for OTT streaming businesses. When shows are cancelled, it may eventually lead to glut even when the virus issues subside.

Yet during the coronavirus issues, more people stay at home, which leads to a surge of TV and streaming views. Quarantine and self-isolation results in a boost of media consumption in the form of services like gaming and video-on-demand.

Sports Streaming

Live sports has always been a primary feature in major TV broadcasting and streaming service providers. Yet due to the coronavirus impact, unprecedented suspensions and cancellations occurred. These are from major sports leagues as mitigation measures during the outbreak.

Streaming service providers that rely on broadcasting sports are experiencing severe losses for advertisement and streaming subscriptions. Cancelled and postponed sports events disrupt the scheduled coverage of streams, and the advertising arrangements, promotional activities, and sponsorship deals.

Halt and Suspension of New Content

Streaming providers like Disney and HBO have decided to address the current situation by revisiting old shows. For Netflix, they are known for having new content weekly, but its major productions are either suspended or halted.

Additionally, Warner Bros. has stopped production on more than 70 TV series and late-night shows are currently suspended. Everyone is uncertain of when the outbreak will subside and when they can resume productions.

Productions are indefinitely suspended, which could mean a surplus of new content on streaming platforms after the outbreak.

New Streaming Platforms

The next four months were supposed to be the release of new streaming platforms like HBO Max, Peacock, and Quibi. However, it’s interesting to see if these will launch on the same dates, as planned. For more news and updates on upcoming streaming platforms, check out the content on Streaming

Broadcasters’ Streamline

Broadcasters like Germany’s NDR and RTL, as well as UK’s BBC and TV, have been cancelling live audience shows. Instead, these broadcasters air programs behind closed doors.

Also, the BBC’s programs focus more on the outbreak and offer more content related to fitness, education, religion, and recipes. Despite the coronavirus impact, BBC continues to fulfill its role as the “nation’s auntie” in a time of need.

BBC Director General Tony Hall stated that they already see new ideas to produce TV programs in these challenging times.

Another broadcast example is the virtual church service aired on Sunday mornings across England’s local radio. It’s a new iPlayer experience for children. Aside from that, shows like The Missing and Spooks.


The coronavirus outbreak resulted in increased media consumption around the world. On March 13th and 14th, the time people spent streaming TV and videos grew by 40% in Spain and Austria. In Germany, this rose by 32%.

The use of VOD platforms has become more common these days due to social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine. The reason for this is because a lot of individuals, especially in Europe and the United States, seek in-home entertainment.

To sum it up, the coronavirus impact has significantly affected the streaming industry. Even if a lot of productions and broadcasts are postponed or cancelled, people continue to seek home entertainment. With that, the use of platforms has increased.

To prevent and slow down the spread of the coronavirus, be well-informed about it, its causes, and how it spreads. Keep yourself protected by following safety precautions like washing your hands, applying alcohol frequently, and not touching your face.

Primarily, the COVID-19 or coronavirus spreads through droplets of saliva or nasal discharge when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Because of that, it’s important to wear protective masks and practice respiratory etiquette, like covering your mouth when coughing.

At this time, treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 are not yet available. However, there are a lot of clinical trials to treat the disease. The World Health Organization will also continue to provide updates as soon as there are clinical findings.

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