Quarantine Queries: How are students staying entertained during lockdown?

In a recent survey, students were asked about which services they use to watch TV at home and why.

Gavin Sidhu, Media and Culture Editor

Unsurprisingly, Netflix was the most popular service because of its long history and wide range of content. However, many of the runners-up are doing very well considering their recent launch date.

Last year, the Lantern wrote an article detailing the newcomers to the online streaming service market and how they would shift the market away from the dominant Netflix. More people than ever are “cutting the cable cord” and are turning to online streaming services to fulfill their need for entertainment. 

With students mostly stuck at home during quarantine, time spent watching television has soared. A poll by Tubi in April – just one month after the beginning of quarantine – found that an average American watched more than eight hours worth of content per day during quarantine. Even with school slowly reopening, television remains a staple of life for students when their academic day is over.

169 students responded to a poll asking the following questions:

Which streaming service(s) do you use to watch TV shows and movies?”

“Which feature is most important to you when choosing a streaming service?”

Of the 169 surveyed, 154 students, about 91 percent, were using Netflix. This did not come as a surprise, as Netflix has always hosted a very wide range of content for viewers. The service also has a long history, being founded in 1997 as a DVD renting service. Some would say it was the first to completely revolutionize television and pave the way for the binge-watching era.

The runner-up, Disney+, was used by 77 students, about 46 percent of the respondents. The platform has hosted many debuts of Disney originals, such as “The Mandalorian” and “Mulan.” Disney has always done well at connecting with audiences, and Disney+ gives them a platform to show off all of their brands, including Pixar, Marvel, and the Star Wars universe.

Following Disney+ was Amazon Prime Video, hosting 61 students and accounting for about 36 percent of the respondents. This service is likely so popular because of its bundling with the standard Amazon Prime subscription. Prime Video’s library pales in comparison to Netflix, but still has a few gems. If you have Amazon Prime, you might as well take advantage of Prime Video.

Hulu is the last service with a notable size in the survey. It was used by 46 students, about 27 percent of the respondents. Hulu is known for delving into TV shows more than movies, which is optimal if you’re interested in binge watching. They also debut the newest episodes of TV shows as opposed to Netflix who usually only shows older seasons.

Some of the other services used by students included HBO Max (15), YouTube (6), Xfinity On-Demand (5), Tubi & Peacock (2) and Apple TV (1).

The responses to the second question lined up with the corresponding services chosen. About 81% of respondents felt that content was the most important factor in choosing a streaming service. 7% felt that pricing was the most important, and 11% felt that having no ads was the most important.

It’s clear that Netflix has dominated in the long-run, but after about a year of being available, Disney+ is catching up, and only has its scope of content to improve on. The same could be said for the more niche services like HBO Max and Apple TV.