Survey Says Media Streaming Has Increased During Pandemic

With Americans stuck at home during the COVID-19 crisis, they are consuming more media than ever via streaming services, according to a new survey by TransUnion

More than half of Americans said they are streaming more than they were before the pandemic, and 45 percent said they will continue to do so in the future. More than a third said they stream five hours of content a day, primarily on a smart TV, and have subscribed to more platforms since the onset of the outbreak. 

Platforms like Netflix are designed to encourage binge-watching, so it’s no surprise that during a global pandemic streaming time would go up, according to Claire Sisco King, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Communication Studies at Vanderbilt University.

Claire Sisco King Vanderbilt University / Steve Green)

“This pandemic has made clear that media consumption practices are influenced by changing social and cultural contexts,” King said. “The combination of people being at home more and feeling uncertain or worried has made it possible for some series to become overnight phenomena.

"For instance, 'Tiger King,' which streamed on Netflix, may not have garnered the attention it did if people were not at home seeking distractions. What remains to be seen is whether this pandemic will forever change media consumption habits or if the surge in streaming is a temporary phenomenon,” she said.

There’s no shortage of LGBTQ-themed content on streaming platforms, especially during the month of June in honor of Pride month:


Disclosure (Netflix 2020)

Disclosure (2020), executive produced by "Orange is the New Black's Laverne Cox, is a must-see film that documents sheds light on the perpetuation of transphobia through the depiction of transgender individuals in film and television. (Netflix)

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017) explores the mysterious unsolved death of a beloved transgender activist who drowned in the Hudson River in 1992. (Netflix)

The Celluloid Closet

The Queen (1968) serves as a fascinating time capsule detailing the early days of competitive drag competitions in the late 1960s. (Netflix)

The Celluloid Closet (1996) is a surprising and witty behind-the-scenes look at how homosexuals have been represented in film and television over the decades. (Amazon) Prime

I am Divine (2013) follows the journey of director John Waters’ muse, Divine, aka Harris Glen Milstead, as he rises from b-film actor to international drag icon. (Netflix)

Feature films

Rocketman (2019) is an epic musical about the meteoric rise of the legendary and inimitable pop music and LGBTQ icon Elton John, set to the performer’s classic songs. (Amazon Prime)

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) is a darkly witty true tale of a lesbian celebrity biographer who turns to a life of crime when she falls on hard times. (Fandango Now)

Moonlight poster

Moonlight (2016) is a not-to-be-missed Academy Award winning coming-of-age drama that recounts the sexual journey of an African American boy in Miami. (Netflix)

Carol (2016), based on Patricia Highsmith’s then-subversive 1952 novel The Price of Salt, invites viewers into the love affair of two women from very different walks of life. (Prime Video)


And Then We Danced (Georgia - 2019) is a sweeping love story between two Georgian male ballet dancers whose unexpected romance risks both of their futures. (Music Box Films/stream local)

Blue is the Warmest Color (La Vie d'Adèle)

The Favourite (England - 2018), an elegant period piece punctuated by darkly comic moments as the sycophants of a frail Queen Ann battle wickedly for her good graces. (Fandango Now)

Blue is the Warmest Color (France - 2013) is a bittersweet and sometimes heart-wrenching romantic tale of a teenager who falls for an older art student. (Amazon Prime)


Queer Eye (2018) starts season five in Philadelphia, with the Fab 5 transforming the lives of people in need of inspiration, grooming tips and a little push toward their dreams. (Netflix)

Pose poster

POSE (2018), taking its cue from Paris is Burning, explores the fabulous and the fierce as queens compete for dominance in the New York ballroom scene. (Amazon Prime)

We’re Here (2020) follows RuPaul Drag’s Race stars Shangela, Eureka O’Hara and Bob the Drag Queen as they train new proteges in the art of drag. (HBO)

Comedy Special

Hannah Gadsby, on her new Netflix Special "Douglas."

Douglas (2020), Hannah Gadsby’s dry-witted followup to her acclaimed debut Nanette, reveals a how the gay Australian comic sees life through the lens of autism. (Netflix)

For more reviews and recommendations, visit the new Rainbow Tomatoes LGBTQ viewing guide on Rotten Tomatoes.

This article has been supported by a grant from the Facebook Journalism Project for COVID-19 coverage.

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