Audio and Video

Media consumption exploded in 2020 due to COVID

07 April 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic caused much distress in the electronics industry, but it also propelled media consumption to new heights in 2020 as consumers were forced to endure lockdowns and social distancing mandates, according to a new report from ABI Research.

Streaming video subscriptions climbed in 2020 with revenues growing to more than $69 billion with year-over-year growth of more than 22% as companies reported heavy traffic from game downloads. Meanwhile, the online video and gaming markets reached $330 billion in 2020.

This is a huge change from other aspects of the electronics industry, which were severely impacted by the coronavirus, specifically the ongoing automotive semiconductor shortage that may last the remainder of the year. Semiconductor manufacturing and the automotive industry as a whole have been impacted due to COVID-19-related lockdowns, forcing factories offline for a period of time during the initial outbreak and forcing fab capacity to shift to other areas as demand faltered.

"While the amount of media consumption will taper off from the peaks seen during lockdowns as the world returns to a sense of normalcy, the appetite for digital content and services are expected to remain strong," said Michael Inouye, principal analyst of next-gen content technologies at ABI Research. "The common consensus from most industry insiders is a shift in the growth curve rather than an expected dip to pre-pandemic forecasts."

Connected TV viewing generated a huge boost as platforms saw strong shifts in the advertising mix toward this format with upticks in Disney Plus, HBO Max and NBC Peacock subscriptions.

ABI Research said the content of media is constantly changing.

"If a consumer puts together a list of streaming video subscriptions and spends the same as a traditional pay-TV package, is that not pay-TV?” said Inouye. “Ultimately these changes create opportunities for new entrants, but it also allows for incumbents to enact strategic changes to remain competitive — for example, pay-TV operators becoming service aggregation hubs. What these changes do speak to are alterations in the distribution channels like cloud delivery and opportunities stemming from new technologies like 5G and out-of-home entertainment and advertising.”

The full research can be found in ABI Research’s Next-Gen Content and Services report.

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