As South Africa continues to observe the 21-day lockdown necessitated by the spread of the novel coronavirus, locals appear to be increasingly finding solace in video-on-demand services.
According to reports, international video streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and even local video streaming services like Showmax which are all available in South Africa are witnessing spikes in usage.
MultiChoice Group-owned video-streaming service, Showmax, said on Wednesday that “play events” have more than doubled compared to pre-crisis peaks, while daily unique users have grown by more than 50 percent.
Although platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video haven’t exactly released lockdown-related viewing data for the South African market, there are indications that South Africans are now turning to these services in droves.
“One of the key video-on-demand indicators measured is the number of unique active users, or the number of people who use a service on a given day. For Showmax, this number typically follows a weekly pattern with lulls on Wednesday and Thursday, and viewing then building from Friday to a peak on Sunday,” Showmax said.
“February and early March followed this pattern with no surprises, but then there was a significant divergence from Monday, 15 March. On that day, instead of the number of active customers dropping off, it stayed almost at the Sunday peak and then started rising for six days straight,” it said.
“There was then a big jump on Friday, 27 March (the first day of the lockdown) and the upward trend has continued from there.”
Showmax added, “But, in this instance, the Sunday peaks had already started getting higher in late February and by 15 March, the number of play events was more than 20 percent higher than a month earlier (this is measuring peak-to-peak). From that point onward, we saw really rapid growth, with the peak this past weekend more than double the peak in viewing events in mid-February.”
According to Showmax, usage, as measured by play events, has more than doubled. For the sake of clarity, Showmax defines a ‘play event’ as when someone clicks play on a TV show, movie or live channel, and that follows the same pattern of a mid-week trough growing to a Sunday peak.
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