How are viewers adapting as the Hollywood strikes hit pause on all new content?
October 4th, 2023, Janice Fernandes

How are viewers adapting as the Hollywood strikes hit pause on all new content?

Ever since the Writer’s Guild Association (WGA) strike began in May 2023 (which has now ended), followed by the SAG-AFTRA strike in July, TV and movie productions have ground to a halt. And while a third of US consumers (35%) believe the Hollywood strike might bring positive changes to the industry, how have they responded to the lack of new content?

Notably, 41% of all respondents haven't taken any specific action in response to the Hollywood strike. This sentiment is shared by consumers aged 35 to 54 (46%) and those over 55 (48%). In contrast, only 26% of 18-34-year-olds have maintained no change.

Roughly around a quarter of all respondents (24%) say they have turned to rewatching their favorite shows and movies, as well as exploring old content they missed. Among young consumers (18-34-year-olds), 25% opt to rewatch, while 20% delve into unseen classics, and those over 55 lean more towards the latter at 28%.

Data reveals that consumers have taken up certain outdoor activities during this time, with 14% engaging in socialization, and around one in nine dedicating time to outdoor hobbies or fitness routines (11% each). In the 18-34 age group, these figures increase to 21%, 16%, and 17%, respectively.

Exploring alternative forms of entertainment such as books, podcasts, and video games has attracted consumers as well (14%), with the 18-34 age group showing the greatest interest at 18%.

Nearly one in ten respondents (9%) have also turned to non-Hollywood content, like international shows and movies. Furthermore, 9% have subscribed to new streaming services to access different content, while 8% have decided to cancel their existing streaming service subscriptions.

A smaller segment of the population has chosen to focus on personal development, with 7% of respondents indicating that they are learning new skills or taking online courses. Meditation or mindfulness practices have been embraced by 6% of respondents, while 5% have taken to volunteering or participating in community activities to pass the time.

Binge-watching behavior and subscription preferences

Nearly half of all respondents (49%) express a strong inclination toward binge-watching new seasons upon their return after the strike, while 36% have no interest in doing so.

Interestingly, women are more enthusiastic about binge-watching (53%) compared to men (46%), where the numbers are almost evenly split – 41% of men are unlikely to binge-watch.

Consumers' eagerness to binge-watch is possibly reflected in their subscription habits, with nearly half of respondents saying they are unlikely to change their streaming plans (55%) or cancel subscriptions (48%) during this period.

Although the majority of respondents lean toward maintaining the same plans, there's still a noteworthy portion of the population considering changes. Nearly three in ten respondents (28%) express a likelihood of exploring something like lower-tiered subscription plans due to the current lack of fresh Hollywood content.

Around a third (33%) are looking to cancel some of their streaming service subscriptions.

In terms of the now rescheduled Emmy awards, the level of excitement remains unchanged for around two-thirds of the respondents (67%). Around one-fifth of respondents feel that the delay will make the event more exciting (19%).

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on September 19-20, 2023, with a nationally representative sample of 1,168 adults in the United States (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education and region to be representative of all adults. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

Image: Getty Images