Social distancing is leading to increased television time, especially for on-demand streaming services. Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) said this week that it has seen soaring network traffic across its TV, gaming, and video conferencing data categories.
Its cable division noted a boost of over two hours per day of television watching for the average household since March 1. That jump will help increase ratings for hit shows across its network.
But streaming video and gaming companies could enjoy even bigger gains. Comcast said video-on-demand consumption jumped 50% in that time period and video game downloads are up 77%.
That bodes well for companies like Netflix and Activision Blizzard, which are likely enjoying significant engagement increases as people look for home-based entertainment. And unlike Comcast, these content specialists don't count advertising as a major source of revenue. That insulates them from recent sharp declines in that industry.
Comcast suggested that demand trends appear to have leveled off around early April after accelerating for roughly two weeks. COVID-19 containment measures have also changed peak TV watching time, with the downstream peak landing at the 7 p.m. hour rather than 9 p.m., where it was before many companies across the country switched to work-from-home formats.