March 23, 2021

2021 Predicting the Pandemic

The first weeks of 2021 have seen an abundance of new COVID-related developments. New cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have continued their post-Thanksgiving surge at the beginning of the year, new, more contagious strains of the virus have begun making inroads in the US, and the new presidential administration has promised significant changes to the way the country manages the crisis. And while recently introduced vaccines have raised hopes that we’ll finally see a light at the end of the tunnel, many have criticized what they consider to be a slow rollout of vaccinations to date.

As the public health situation continues to evolve, so does the TV and entertainment landscape. HBO Max and Disney have shifted their movie distribution strategy toward streaming, releasing first-run, blockbuster films on their online platforms at the same time as (or instead of) in theaters. Netflix has also announced that it will be releasing a brand-new movie every week in 2021. Other streaming platforms have ramped up their original content offerings, AVODs continue to be a popular source of free, nostalgia viewing, and live TV services continue to look for ways to adapt their live sports, competition, and talk show formats.

As was the case in 2020, our 2021 waves of pandemic research will track how consumers have modified their behaviors in the face of these shifts in entertainment delivery and will explore what the “new normal” will look like once the public health crisis has eased.

The study is conducted among 3,008 U.S. consumers age 14-74 who watch a minimum of 1 hour of TV per week.