Binge-watch Britain: Amount of time spent on video streaming apps increased by almost a THIRD during lockdown, Virgin Media reveals

  • Virgin Media customers spent 41 minutes longer per day watching television
  • This was in the early stages of lockdown – a 10 per cent rise in total viewership 
  • On demand viewing and streaming consumption increased by nearly a third 
  • News channels saw the largest increase in viewership during early lockdown with customers watching twice as much news as was normal

The amount of time people have spent on video streaming apps has increased by a third since coronavirus lockdown measures were introduced, Virgin Media revealed.

It wasn’t just on-demand programming that increased, the cable television firm says TV consumption as a whole has gone up across all platforms since lockdown.

People spent 29 per cent more time watching content on video streaming apps through the company’s set-top box in early lockdown, compared with pre-lockdown.

This is in part due to a massive rise in people working from home, home schooling or on furlough in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly pandemic.

Netflix usage time shot up by 32 per cent, according to Virgin Media, while YouTube was accessed by 16 per cent more users than before lockdown.

It wasn’t just on-demand programming that increased, the cable television firm says TV consumption as a whole has gone up across all platforms since lockdown. Stock image

Traditional TV viewing also spiked, with news channels experiencing the largest increase in viewership – at 25 minutes a day at the beginning of lockdown. 

A similar effect happened for music, radio and children’s channels as families found themselves unable to go out of the house. 

Saturday 28 March was the busiest day for customers using streaming apps like Netflix with a 42 pre cent growth compared to the eight previous Saturdays. 

‘The Big Night In’ from the BBC was the most viewed event over the lockdown months, according to Virgin Media in house data.

Away from general entertainment a lot of philostorgie was happening as parents gave up the remote to their children – with Pepper Pig, Paw Patrol and Fireman Sam proving popular among the younger viewers.

With the majority of schools closed throughout the country, viewers spent five hours more on average during April watching Pay TV kids channels such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network compared to February.

Overall, Pay kids TV channels saw a 19 per cent increase in viewing time.

This changed when the Bundlesliga returned in May, Dortmund’s fixture against Bayern Munich on Tuesday 26 May was watched by 111 per cent more customers than their previous league fixture on Saturday 11 November. 

The Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal saw a 47 per cent rise in viewing numbers compared with respective matches in 2019 and 2018. 

With families spending more time together indoors fighting over the TV remote, multiscreen viewing also proved hugely popular.

Virgin Media said there was a third more customers turning to the Virgin TV Go on demand service in early lockdown.

‘The growth in demand for multiscreen viewing has continued throughout lockdown and now live sport has returned to our screens, Virgin TV Go use of live TV has increased 12% increase in May when compared to April,’ the firm said.

Scotland watched more linear TV channels than any other region in the UK, clocking in 46 additional minutes per day.

This was followed by Northern Ireland at 44 minutes, and London and the North East at 42 minutes television viewing time each.

With families spending more time together indoors fighting over the TV remote, multiscreen viewing also proved hugely popular. Virgin Media said there was a third more customers turning to the Virgin TV Go on demand service in early lockdown

‘Lockdown has certainly seen a leap in TV viewing across the nation,’ said David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer for Virgin Media.

‘Whether tuning in to the latest news or catching up on favourite movie or TV series, our customers have been glued to their television sets throughout lockdown to stay informed and entertained.’  

When it comes to the most popular general entertainment programmes throughout April and May, Britain’s Got Talent; Coronation Street; Gordon, Gino and Fred: American Road Trip and Antiques Roadshow topped the charts.

It wasn’t just Virgin Media that saw a spike in users due to lockdown, BBC iPlayer reported record monthly viewing figures in May. 

There were 570 million requests to stream programmes on the platform – up 72 per cent on the same month in 2019.

The success was in part driven by hit programmes including Normal People and Killing Eve, according to the corporation.

WHAT ARE THE VIDEO STREAMING OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO UK CUSTOMERS?

Netflix 

Price: From £5.99 a month  

Hit shows: 

  • The Crown 
  • Stranger Things  

Amazon Prime 

Price: £7.99 per month OR £79 per year

Hit shows: 

  • Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
  • The Man in the High Castle  

Apple TV+

Price: £4.99 a month 

Hit shows

  • The Morning Show 
  • See  

Disney+

Price: £5.99 a month OR £59.99 a year

Hit shows:

  • The Mandalorian 
  • The Simpsons  

NOW TV

Price: From £8.99 a month

Hit shows: 

  • Game of Thrones 
  • Chernobyl  

hayu 

Price: £4.99 a month

Hit shows: 

  • Keeping up with the Kardashians
  • Made in Chelsea  

BritBox

Price: £5.99 a month 

Hit shows: 

  • Fawlty Towers 
  • Midsomer Murders  

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