Sports are on hold, theaters are closed and so are amusement parks, a disaster-movie scenario that has Hollywood reeling.
But Americans held captive at home by the coronavirus can turn to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other streaming services, outliers in an entertainment industry brought to an unprecedented standstill.
The recent launch of Disney and Apple services and the upcoming arrival of NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max unleashed speculation about winners and losers in an increasingly crowded field. With self-imposed or required isolation the abrupt reality, emerging and niche streamers could draw new subscribers — gains that may even outlast the coronavirus crisis.
The viral outbreak “has caused so much pain across industries globally,” said Dan Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities. “Yet on the streaming side, the demand for those services is going to increase exponentially over the next three to six months” as consumers around the world remain stuck in place.
Up to a 20 percent increase is likely in the amount of time subscribers spend watching streamed fare, and millions of new customers will hop aboard worldwide, Ives predicted.
Pay TV channels could benefit as well as more people become shut-ins and reconsider cutting the cord, slowing an accelerating trend, said analyst Jeffrey Wlodarczak of Pivotal Research Group. Broadcast networks facing rating declines also could see a boost in viewership, he said.
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