Lockdown leads to rise of ‘silver streamers’

03 September 2021 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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The long lockdown months of 2020 and 2021 sparked a surge in consumers aged 65 to 75 taking up video streaming packages. According to a new report, the number of so-called “silver streamers” in that demographic jumped by more than 20% over the last year.

As broadband and 5G coverage has improved and its costs fallen, while the processing power of mobile technology has also ramped up, most consumers have been more than happy to put the technology to use in their daily search for entertainment. In this context, video subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have driven growth by creating a range of services for customer groups with different needs. At the same time, new competitors including established media behemoth Disney have also tapped into the market with their own streaming services.

At the same time, such services provide viewers with access to entertainment that cannot be interrupted by meandering government press-conferences, spiralling pandemic statistics, or, during several weeks of the last year, wall-to-wall coverage of the passing of a member of the monarchy. In this context, streaming services have been well positioned to make the most of the pandemic – particularly among increasingly tech-savvy elder consumers.

Lockdown leads to rise of ‘silver streamers’

According to a new study from Deloitte, over-65s have been eager adopters of technology in the last 12 months leading to July 2021. Driven by the increasing need for digital communication to avoid isolation or boredom amid the Covid-19 lockdown, this also saw consumers from 65 to 75 years old taking to video subscription services in record numbers.

Paul Lee, a Partner at Deloitte, said, “The pace of adoption has been really fast. It has been a surge, due to lockdowns, in particular during winter. One of the easiest things for relatives to do [for older family members] to make sure they are okay is to set them up with a video subscription. I would still expect the majority of consumption in this group to be in broadcast, but there will be some people switching mostly to on-demand.”

Access to a subscription to a video streaming service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime among UK consumers over 65 surged, from 36% in 2020, to 57% in 2021, according to Deloitte. This would have been buoyed by the uptake among the demographic of technology capable of streaming video – which grew at the fastest pace in a decade. Around 19.2 million devices were bought in the UK during the period, 8% higher than a year earlier. Laptop access among over-65s increased from 68% to 75% during the same period.

Helen Rees, Director of Media at Deloitte, said, “Streaming subscription growth is slowing among every age group other than those aged over 65, offering a new and loyal audience for platforms to target. This should be a clear focus for streaming platforms in the year ahead as they look to set themselves apart in a crowded market. Platforms that invest in quality content and stories that strike a chord with older audiences will reap the rewards.”

With streaming on the rise in this manner, Deloitte also found that 35% of adults said they could see themselves no longer relying on the main TV channels within the next three years. The figures from Deloitte will add to concerns from traditional broadcasters such as the BBC which rely on older watchers to boost their viewing figures.