Americans plan to keep their new pandemic entertainment habits and streaming subscriptions

Ipsos finds the future of media is pervasive and we’re not going back

The author(s)

  • Matt Carmichael Vice President, Editorial Strategy, North America
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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NEW YORK, May 13, 2021 – Americans’ dependence on screens grew in the past year and will stick in the future, according to Ipsos' latest issue of What the Future magazine. Today we have multiple screens – and screenless voice assistants – always mediating our work, our entertainment, our social lives, our classrooms and our doctor’s visits. We’re not going back, we’re pushing forward, into the metaverse.

Consumer behavior signals this future as nearly all new streaming subscribers – about nine in ten (87%) on average – say they’ll stick with the services after pandemic restrictions are lifted, according to a recent Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker survey. People also have grown accustomed to watching new release films from home. Almost half of adults surveyed (47%) say they would rather watch at home, given the choice, even if going in-person was equally safe.

This leads to a growing tension for parents who say their children are spending more time on screens for entertainment than they would like. “Regardless of how much time parents want their children to spend on screens, kids are spending more time and the parents know that,” says Peter Minnium, a president at Ipsos U.S.

In this new reality, creators, platforms, companies, brands and even our cars compete for the audience’s attention. With the lines all blurred, Ipsos asks how can brands engage audiences where they’re headed? That’s what this issue of What the Future aims to answer. With these insights, Ipsos asks leading experts in the realms of media and entertainment four big questions:

  • Ted Schilowitz, futurist-in-residence, Paramount Pictures —How will technology shape entertainment content?
  • Kai Gayoso, partner-digital, Range Media Partners —Who will control the future of entertainment content and marketing? 
  • Dave Meeker, head of design & innovation, Americas, and global chief innovation officer, Denstu Creative —What are the limits of virtual today and tomorrow?
  • Christina Wootten, VP, brand partnerships, Roblox —Will the metaverse be the next Madison & Vine? 

The Entertainment issue also features Ipsos researchers’ guidance on how to answer these questions for consumers, society and brands. The full issue is here. Below are research highlights followed by a topline of the survey results:

  • 48% of those with children at home have three to five streaming subscriptions, compared to 31% of households with no children at home. Nine in ten people with six or more streaming subscriptions say they would be interested in bundling their services.
  • 67% of Americans spend less than $50 each month for paid streaming video services.
  • 22% of parents say their children spend 10 hours or more per week on screen time for entertainment during their free time. That’s more than double the percentage of parents who wish their child would spend that amount of time (9%). For people with children ages 13 to 17 in the household, that reality gap is the largest at 19 points (29% actual versus 10% wish).
  • 2x is how much more likely Americans are to say search engines are important in shopping decisions than influencers. Black (29%), Asian (32%) and Hispanic (40%) consumers are more likely than white consumers (22%) to purchase things they saw influencers, bloggers and celebrities using them on social media.
  • 50% of parents with a child or children under age 13 are familiar with buying virtual gear on gaming or social platforms.
  • 34% of U.S. adults ages 25 to 34 would want to interact with a brand in a virtual world.

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between April 15-19, 2021. For this survey, a sample of 1,284 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for all respondents.

For full results, please refer to the following annotated questionnaire.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between April 15-19, 2021. For this survey, a sample of 1,284 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.

The sample was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. 

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,284, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-4.6 percentage points).

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Matt Carmichael
Editor, What the Future and
Vice President, Editorial Strategy
Ipsos North America
+1 312 218 7922
[email protected]

Mallory Newall
Director, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

The author(s)

  • Matt Carmichael Vice President, Editorial Strategy, North America
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs

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