The state of streaming, social, and podcasts in 3 charts

There’s been a lot of scratching about how the pandemic changed the way we interact with the internet, and how that may change again as the pandemic recedes. At one point, we were assured that the pandemic was “accelerating digital transformation.” Now we may not be so sure.

But here’s another way to look at it: If you went to sleep in early 2020 and just woke up now, things would be pretty much where you think they would be: We’re still glued to our digital devices, but more so. .

We could write more about this. But sometimes pictures, or in this case, graphics, work much better than words. We take a quick survey of how we spend our time online, what’s changed and what that means.

This summer, for example, marked a major milestone for the world of streaming video: It’s the first time, according to Nielsen, that Americans watched more TV on streaming than on cable.

Chart: Percentage of time spent watching TV by format.  Americans spend more time watching broadcast television than watching cable

It’s possible, by the way, that this chart will move a bit this fall when traditional TV networks introduce their new shows (in streaming, new things appear on the screen all the time). But it’s a reminder that the broadcast genie will never go back into the bottle, even if that might please the big media companies and their investors. The trick is to figure out how to make money from streaming, something Netflix just startedand some of its new competitors, such as Disney and Warner Brothers Discovery, now have to do the same.

Meanwhile, the company formerly known as Facebook is making a lot of money — Meta posted nearly $40 billion in profits by 2021 — but users are another story. Growth across all its apps is slowing, and Facebook’s original service lost users late last year before rebounding the following spring.

Chart: Percentage of teenagers using each social media platform.  Teens are getting off Facebook, but they love TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that TikTok has become a major problem for Meta, one that the company often points out and is trying to solve by making its apps more like TikTok. But Facebook has another longtime competitor in YouTube, and just because the world’s largest video service doesn’t get as much press attention doesn’t mean it’s not… the world’s largest video service. That is why it remains very popular among the young Internet users that Facebook wants to attract again.

And finally, a graphic that admittedly has a specific appeal to the authors of this story, since we’ve both done podcasts for a living: it turns out that people who like podcasts follow them pleasing and that their interest in podcasts has continued to grow. no matter what happens around them. Important note: This data from the Podtrac measurement service doesn’t tell us if the number of people consuming podcasts is growing, and there really isn’t great data for that. However, a decent proxy: Spotify, which has spent a huge amount of money on its podcast strategy, says its podcast listenership has continued to grow.

Chart showing podcast streams and downloads up 50 percent since 2019

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