HBO Now Usage Leaps 40% Amid Coronavirus Crisis; WarnerMedia Posts Viewership Gains With Titles Like ‘Ebola’ & Contagion’


It’s not a big surprise, but there’s further evidence here that streaming and linear viewership are big beneficiaries of the current coronavirus crisis.

HBO has seen gains across all its platforms, according to WarnerMedia. Usage levels for HBO Now since Saturday, March 14, a week after the reality of the crisis became clear and more people began hunkering down at home, have been the highest seen since last summer, with time spent on the platform up over 40% from its four-week average.

Findings by the WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer Research Team reveal overall viewing across the portfolio, including traditional, connected devices and smart TV, grew by nearly 20% last week compared to the prior four weeks, with increases becoming more pronounced throughout the week. The largest increases are coming from connected devices, according to researchers, and non-traditional consumption has accelerated among younger demos as streaming behavior increases.

While there were expected gains for HBO’s No. 1 series Westworld as it launched its new season, and other recent HBO Original Series, Euphoria’s audience has also doubled over its 4-week average, with Big Little Lies, Chernobyl, Game Of Thrones and His Dark Materials all up more than 50%.

During the most recent week, daily binge viewing of 3+ episodes of HBO’s series content increased 65% from the prior four weeks.

Among documentary titles, Ebola: The Doctor’s Story ranked among the platform’s most watched titles this week, with viewing more than seven times that of recent weeks. Classic series such as The Wire nearly tripled its recent audience, and both Sex and the City and The Sopranos nearly doubled their audiences.

Movie viewing also is up 70% this past week from its four-week average. The recent premieres of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw and X-Men: Dark Phoenix delivered significant bumps, along with Armageddon, Black Swan and Apocalypse Now, according to the research.

In addition to HBO streaming stats, linear viewing also is up for WarnerMedia’s TNT, TBS and TruTV networks. TNT & TBS currently rank as #1 and #2 respectively in net audience gains in total day and sales prime (7p-12a) versus the prior four weeks among P18-49 for the non-news ad-supported cable nets. Both TBS and truTV are benefiting from increases in Kids and Teens PUT (People Using Television) levels, attracting co-viewing to titles like Friends and Impractical Jokers.

The premium cabler has also seen increased interest in the movie Contagion. Currently available on Cinemax’s on-demand and digital platforms, the movie has ranked as the top title throughout the last two weeks.

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