Press Release | October 08, 2020

More Consumers Now Use Paid Streaming Services Than Pay TV, Says CTA Data

Danielle Cassagnol
For the first time ever, the number of U.S. consumers using paid video streaming services (71%) exceeds those using traditional pay TV services (58%), as millions stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® study. Paid and free video streaming services each saw double digit gains in 2020 (19 and 15 percentage point increases from 2018, respectively), while pay TV services from cable, satellite or fiber providers dropped 15 percentage points from 2018.
The report, Content in the COVID-19 Era: Current Realities and Future Opportunities looked at the impact of COVID-19 on consumer entertainment and video gaming content consumption behaviors. The study found TV is the primary screen for entertainment for nine in 10 consumers (92%). The study also found 60% of video content viewing time takes place in front of TV screens, with the remaining time split among smartphones, computers and tablets.
“With more time at home, the pandemic has accelerated several trends in media, entertainment and gaming,” says Sayon Deb, Manager, Market Research, CTA. “Consumers are watching more content and watching longer, as new innovations in format and delivery draw in millions of first-time users. New digital activities such as virtual concerts, livestreaming and shared viewing on social platforms are also resonating with consumers.”
Video content consumption behaviors Gaming behaviors
  • Nearly half (47%) of U.S. adults have been playing more video games since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 
  • Gaming console use rates have grown the fastest, up 42% year-over-year as high-quality gaming titles and immersive environments meet the demands of more serious gamers.
  • 85% of mobile gamers play at least weekly, with the number of gamers who play daily (58%) is up by 26% over last year.
  • Nearly one in five U.S. adults subscribe to digital gaming services such as Xbox Game Pass or Apple Arcade. And of those subscribers, 28% signed up for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This quantitative study, designed and formulated by CTA, was administered to an online sample of 1001 U.S. respondents (ages 18+) between July 30 and August 5, 2020.