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Watch-Time for Social Videos Around Gaming Sees Explosive Year-Over-Year Growth

Still from music video for K/DA More
(Image credit: League of Legends)

We’re a year into the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and it should come as no surprise that social video consumption has seen drastic, sustained growth, with many people still homebound and in front of their computers and smartphones more and more. 

Social video analytics company Tubular Labs examined how much year-over-year growth occurred in February across five genres: sports, gaming, entertainment, kids entertainment and news/politics. (A note about methodology: The data in this article is based on a U.S.-viewing audience, including YouTube and Facebook. The minutes watched data is based on views of at least 30 seconds.) 

The gaming genre was the clear winner, with 80.1 billion minutes watched in February 2021, an impressive 73% increase from February 2020. Kids entertainment (55.3 billion minutes watched, a 34% increase year-over-year) took second place, followed by entertainment (77 billion minutes, a 22% increase from February 2020), news and politics (17.2 billion, +17%) and sports (14.5 billion, +15%). 

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

One of the most-watched gaming properties for U.S. audiences over the last year has been Riot Games, which led for minutes watched for 10 out of 12 months compared to other top properties Nintendo, Activision Blizzard and PokerStars. (In December and February, Nintendo was tops for minutes watched.) October was Riot’s biggest month for watch-time, with 114 million minutes watched. 

The top Riot-owned video by views in the last year was posted to the League of Legends YouTube channel in October: “K/DA - MORE ft. Madison Beer, (G)I-DLE, Lexie Liu, Jaira Burns, Seraphine (Official Music Video),” with 80.8 million views.

Looking at unique U.S. viewers in the last year, Activision Blizzard and Nintendo have taken turns as No. 1 over the last 12 months. April was Activision Blizzard’s top month for unique viewers (8.9 million) — right when initial stay-at-home orders were in full effect across the country. But Nintendo has lately taken over for the most unique viewers, with 6.9 million in December, 7.6 million in January and 8.5 million in February.  

Activision Blizzard’s top YouTube video in the last year was a Spanish-language version of the Crash Bandicoot 4 trailer, with 18.8 million views; the English version was close behind with 16.6 million. Nintendo’s most-watched video in the last year was posted this January and already has 10.2 million views: “A Bigger Badder Bowser - Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury - Nintendo Switch.”