With the pandemic and the unraveling of the global economy, the warped weather patterns spurring snowstorms in the Midwest and vicious tornados in the south, and the complete lack of sports goofs to fuel the internet’s viral video market (not to mention the fact that it’s all happening in a presidential election year, no less), it’s no wonder that many Americans are streaming entertainment like it’s their day jobs.
And that’s no exaggeration. According to a new study from market research company OnePoll on behalf of Tubi, while much of the country is waylaid by safer-at-home edicts, Americans are watching an average of eight hours of content per day after obtaining access to an average of four different streaming services.
But what, exactly, are viewers hoping to get in exchange for their precious time?
One need look only as far as the most recent episode of IndieWire’s TV podcast “Millions of Screens” to grasp the diverse forms of relief entertainment is expected to provide in these trying times.
For all three podcast participants, watching TV comes as part and parcel of their workaday jobs, and yet all still depend on streaming as a recreational drug of choice.
Creative Producer Leo Garcia reported that he’s currently deep in a rewatch of Aaron Sorkin’s political drama (or fantasy, if viewed in direct comparison to the current state of American politics) “The West Wing” which sees him watching episodes at the same general times each day (one during breakfast, one during lunch, etc.). For him, streaming is bolstering a set routine sometimes lacking for people suddenly thrust into a work-from-home way of life.
For TV Awards Editor Libby Hill, also known as me, streaming TV is a form of self-soothing, which means that in my home there’s a constant hum of comfort watching happening in the background of everyday life, serving less as a perpetual binge-watch and more as white noise for a child raised primarily by a console TV. Whether it’s a half-rewatching modern classics including “30 Rock” and “The Office” or going deep in Netflix’s archives of “The Great British Baking Show,” something is always streaming, not so much for entertainment purposes, but to fill the void left when silence descends during a global health crisis.
And then there’s TV Deputy Editor and Critic Ben Travers, whose job means that even as he shelters-in-place he must contend with Peak TV. While he admits that streaming isn’t his first outlet to blow off steam, thanks to the nature of the work, he’s thusly able to maintain the most healthy relationship with TV of all: He watches for sheer entertainment.
Truly, he is the best of us.
For more on what we’re watching and why we’re watching it, swing by this week’s episode of “Millions of Screens” with Hill, Travers, and Leo Garcia — still recorded from the comfort of their three respective Los Angeles-area apartments, where the walls are definitely not closing in on them.
Plus, find out the latest on reports that streaming start-up Quibi’s intent to pivot to TV on TV (instead of just your phone), as well as the newest development in Travers’ ongoing love affair with TNT’s “Snowpiercer,” despite not yet seeing a single, solitary episode.
“Millions of Screens” is available on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with the crew on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Review the show on iTunes and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the gang address specific issues in upcoming editions of “Millions of Screens.” Check out the rest of IndieWire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.
This episode of “Millions of Screens” was produced by Leonardo Adrian Garcia.