Social Video 2020 Year in Review: The Broadcast and Digital Winners

2020 was, to say the least, a challenging year, and as daily life got upended due to COVID-19, social video helped keep people connected, entertained and informed.

According to a new report from Tubular Labs, watch-time on social video (Facebook and YouTube) increased 56% among U.S. audiences from February to December 2020. And while all demographic groups spent more time with social video during the year, viewers aged 45+ increased their watch-time the most, up 97% from February to December. 

Influencers commanded the most watch-time, with 121 billion monthly U.S. minutes of influencer content watched across Facebook and YouTube, followed by videos from traditional broadcasters (37 billion) and digital-first publishers (27 billion). Audiences skewed toward broadcast media creators for entertainment and news, while digital-first creators were a top destination for parents and kids.

Also Read: Fun Chart of the Day: YouTube Surpasses Netflix in Revenue

2020 social videos by minutes watched

To determine which media companies dominated social video, Tubular looked at average unique, de-duplicated viewers both on a global scale and for a U.S.-only audience. Worldwide, The Walt Disney Company and TheSoul Publishing were basically tied with an average of 644 million unique viewers, followed by WarnerMedia (521 million) and ViacomCBS (500 million). 

Looking at the U.S.-only audience, The Walt Disney Company led for broadcast/entertainment properties (146 million average U.S. unique viewers), followed by ViacomCBS (138 million) and Comcast (126 million). On the digital-first publisher side of things, Jellysmack took first place with 125 million average monthly viewers in the U.S., followed by Group Nine Media (101 million) and BuzzFeed (91 million).

2020 social video winners for Broadcast & Cable, Digital-First, and Magazines & Newspapers

Top Individual Creators for the U.S. Audience

Tubular ranked various types of media creators for the U.S. audience by monthly unique viewers. For the entertainment category, LADbible was on top with an average of 42.6 million unique viewers per month, followed by Derek Deso (31.8 million) and America’s Funniest Home Videos (30.9 million). Within the sports world, SportsCenter ruled with 39.4 million unique viewers per month on average, with ESPN (36.5 million) and WWE (29.2 million) in second and third places, respectively. 

For the parents out there, it’s probably no surprise that within the kids category, Cocomelon - Nursery Rhymes commanded the top placement with 59 million unique viewers per month, followed by PinkFong! Kids’ Songs and Stories (51.6 million). Sesame Street was a more distant third (30.5 million). 

Turning to news and politics, Disney’s ABC News had a monthly average of 42.6 million viewers, followed by NowThis (34.6 million) and Fox News (34.3 million).

Looking at top media creators by the age and gender demographics of their audiences, there are some notable differences. For the 13-24 year-old male cohort, the top creators by average monthly unique viewers were Movieclips (14.1 million), WorldStar Hip Hop/WSHH (11 million) and WWE (8.3 million). For women in the same age group, Tasty won out (9.4 million), followed by 5-Minute Crafts (8.5 million) and Cocomelon - Nursery Rhymes (6.6 million). 

For 25-44 year-old males, SportsCenter was No. 1 (20.7 million), followed by Movieclips (19.2 million) and Cocomelon (18.6 million), which slightly edged out ESPN (18.2 million). For women in that age group, there was even more family-friendly content: Cocomelon was No. 1 (23.7 million), followed by Pinkfong! (21.5 million). Further down the ranking, Mother Goose Club Playhouse and Sesame Street took eighth and ninth places, with 11.6 million and 11.2 million average monthly viewers, respectively.