Some Media Habits May Stick After Crisis Passes

While many are suffering from cabin fever as a result of staying home to stop the spread of the coronavirus, there are some behavioral changes that consumers said they want to maintain once the crisis passes, according to a new survey.

According to the study from the USC Center for the Digital Future and the IAB, 56% of those responding want to continue to spend more time with family, 42% said they want to work at home, 39% said they will keep making more of their purchases online, and 37% said they will reduce their face-to-face contact with people.

In terms of entertainment, 73% said they will continue higher levels of streaming on YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and other services, TV viewing (68%), texting (67%) and video calls (64%).

Titled “The Coronavirus Disruption Project: How We are Living and Coping During the Pandemic,” the study shows “that the coronavirus crisis is accelerating shifts in consumer behavior that will permanently alter the way Americans watch, read, listen, play, shop, work, and socialize," said Brad Berens, senior VP and head of thought leadership for the Interactive Advertising Bureau

"It’s too soon to pick particular winners and losers,” said Berens. “But changing attitudes about the news, trust in government, new favorite video channels, upstart brands, and gaming habits are certain to emerge from the rubble – as will a new appreciation for the joys of cocooning. We anticipate that nothing our 650 member companies do will return to the status quo ante.”

In the survey, 63% of Americans said they were watching Netflix, 43% said Amazon Prime, 35% said Hulu, 26% said Disney+ and 5% said Apple TV+. When asked what they would do if money gets tight, 34% said they don’t plan to change their subscriptions and 20% said they’d drop Netflix.

While large numbers of people bought or rented first-run movies on demand for $19.99, 49% of those surveyed said they would pay no more than $5 to watch a new movie at home.

The survey found that 22% of people said that cable TV channels were their primary source of news about the coronavirus, followed by local TV stations with 16%, other news sites or apps, 15%; broadcast network news, 14%; internet searches 9% and daily newspaper websites, 4%. Only 1% of American depended on print newspapers for info about the pandemic.

More than one-third of Americans said that advertising within news programming is needed to support news organizations and 39% said they would disable an ad blocker at least selectively to support news websites.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.