ARD / ZDF online study: Streaming and media libraries drive media usage

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According to the results of the 25th ARD / ZDF online study, media usage on the Internet has risen again. Video streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube as well as the media libraries of the TV broadcasters are proving to be the main drivers. There is also audio streaming from radio stations as well as podcasts, online articles and messengers. Media usage on the go has risen sharply again.

The market researchers of the Society for Innovative Market Research (GIM) wanted to determine how strongly and permanently the influences of the corona restrictions such as lockdowns, home office and homeschooling had an impact on media use.

A realization the ARD / ZDF online study is that the average usage time of media on the Internet has increased from 99 minutes per day in the pre-Corona year 2019 to 136 minutes in 2021. Videos, audios, podcasts, music and radio streaming as well as reading online articles, the use of social media and messengers are also responsible for the increase in longer usage times.

In the younger age groups, the duration of use is considerably higher than the average for the general population: 14 to 29-year-olds used an average of 269 minutes (2019: 207 minutes) online media. The age group between 30 and 49 years recorded the highest increase. Their usage time increased by an average of 71 minutes to 178 minutes within two years. For 50 to 69 year olds, the average usage time increased moderately by 17 minutes to 77 minutes compared to the pre-Corona year, for those over 70 the usage time decreased from 29 minutes to 23 minutes.

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According to the ARD / ZDF online study, the lion’s share goes to the account of videos on the Internet. People in Germany would spend an average of 64 minutes a day using video streaming services, YouTube and media libraries. 9 minutes more than 2019. 56 minutes would be spent consuming audio streams such as live radio and podcasts. That is 5 minutes more than in 2019. Here, too, the younger age groups in particular drive the usage time: 14 to 29 year olds use online media around 4.5 hours per day, 30 to 49 year olds around 3 hours .

The daily reach of Internet videos is now growing to 36 percent from 26 percent in 2019. In the Corona year 2020, the daily reach increased by four percent, despite lower Corona restrictions in 2021 by a further 6 percent. According to the surveyed figures, video streaming & Co are more and more popular with the 30 to 49 age group: around 50 percent watch online videos every day, an increase of 13 percent. For 14 to 29 year olds, the increase is less, with an increase of 3 percent. However, 70 percent of this age group watch videos on the Internet every day. Audio offers are used by an average of 30 percent, a slight increase. Here, too, the younger age groups dominate.

When it comes to video streaming services, Netflix is ​​ahead of Amazon Prime Video and Disney +. 32 percent of Netflix users watch at least once a week. With Amazon Prime Video it is 18 percent, with Disney + 8 percent. The ARD and ZDF media libraries are also well received: around 21 percent use them at least once a week.

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ARD and ZDF see themselves as encouraged by the results in reaching an ever wider audience and society as a whole with their digital offerings, as ZDF planning chief Florian Kumb said. The further expansion of the digital offerings including the planned streaming network of ARD and ZDF should contribute to this.

Benjamin Fischer, head of ARD Online and the ARD Digitalboards, sees in the results of the study that the digital transformation of the ARD’s offering is the right thing to do, in order to provide as many people as possible with “best information in the digital world”.

In addition to video and audio offers on the Internet, the use of social media has also continued to grow. Overall, Facebook and Instagram are competing here. Instagram has overtaken Facebook and is in daily use with 18 percent ahead of Facebook with 15 percent. For the younger age group under 30, Facebook only plays a subordinate role. Instagram (55 percent), Snapchat (28 percent) and Tiktok (18 percent) dominate in daily use. Facebook is in fourth place with 17 percent. Clubhouse, on the other hand, hardly plays a role.

Messenger continues to be heavily used. 71 percent of users use them every day. Younger age groups chat more overall. Here, 93 percent use a messenger every day. WhatsApp is the most popular messenger with 70 percent, followed by Telegram (3 percent), Signal (3 percent) and Threema (2 percent).

Media use has become more mobile again overall. The withdrawal of the corona measures in 2021 led to this, so that more mobility was possible. Around 79 percent used online media while on the move, more than ever before, according to the study.

The ARD / ZDF online study was carried out by GIM on behalf of the ARD / ZDF research commission. 1502 people aged 14 and over were interviewed by telephone in March and April 2021. The data of the ARD / ZDF online study have been collected annually since 1997. This marks the 25th anniversary of the study.


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