Multihoming In The Work From Home Era
Digital tools have become a key pillar in ensuring that Americans can work, socialize, and stream safely. As people download and subscribe to new services, they are often multihoming—or switching between platforms—rather than choosing only one. This increase of multihoming is another example of how the tech sector is as competitive as ever. “Living online,” for many consumers, means trying new platforms and using a diverse array of digital tools—many of which are free. Further:
— Fierce competition amongst video conferencing tools is driving consumers to multihome across platforms, reaping the benefits of multiple services at once.
— Consumers want multiple options for streaming amidst today’s “streaming wars,” motivated by new creative content.
Fierce competition amongst video conferencing tools is driving consumers to multihome across platforms, reaping the benefits of multiple services at once.
The video conferencing platform Zoom, which quickly gained popularity, “established a strong position in a market previously dominated by powerful incumbents,” writes Dirk Auer. “To get to where it is today, Zoom had to compete against long-established firms with vast client bases and far deeper pockets. These include the likes of Microsoft, Cisco, and Google. Further complicating matters, the video communications market exhibits some prima facie traits that are typically associated with the existence of network effects. For instance, the value of Skype to one user depends – at least to some extent – on the number of other people that might be willing to use the network. In these settings, it is often said that positive feedback loops may cause the market to tip in favor of a single firm that is then left with an unassailable market position. Although Zoom still faces significant competitive challenges, it has nonetheless established a strong position in a market previously dominated by powerful incumbents who could theoretically count on network effects to stymie its growth.”
Innovative video conferencing apps have seen a “surge” in downloads across platforms, as noted in Axios. “While none of the top video chat apps in the last couple of weeks are brand new, the surge in new downloads hints that the urge to connect with other folks online is driving people to download apps they didn’t use before. These apps are getting over the hurdle of persuading consumers to download yet another app.”
As consumers switch between platforms, growth in downloads of video conferencing apps has been shared across applications, as noted by App Annie. “As more employees work from home globally, we are seeing strong demand for tools that enable people to feel connected and foster collaboration. Given their free tiers, these apps could also be good tools for businesses that haven’t ordinarily paid for these services.”
The “way we internet” has changed in recent times, with video conferencing apps playing a pivotal role in helping people connect, as noted by Ella Koeze and Nathaniel Popper in the New York Times. “While traditional social media sites have been growing, it seems that we want to do more than just connect through messaging and text — we want to see one another.” This has given a big boost to apps “like Google’s video chatting application, Duo, and Houseparty, which allows groups of friends to join a single video chat and play games together.”
Consumers want multiple options for streaming amidst today’s “streaming wars,” motivated by new creative content.
A Wall Street Journal-Harris Poll found consumers are willing to subscribe to more than three streaming services at one time. “Consumers will have choices to make as new entrants join the fray: Americans are willing to spend an average of $44 monthly on streaming video and subscribe to an average of 3.6 services, according to a survey of over 2,000 people in recent days by The Wall Street Journal and the Harris Poll. That is up roughly $14 from what most people pay now.”
Additional streaming subscriptions are often supplementary—rather than rivalrous—of other streaming services, as highlighted in Forbes. “[Americans] are subscribing to additional streaming services, with Disney+ proving to be far and away the most popular choice. Between Saturday, March 14, 2020, and Monday, March 16, 2020, the number of Disney+ signups more than tripled compared to the same period from the week prior, according to data provided exclusively to Forbes from streaming analytics firm Antenna. Coinciding with school closures across the country, the period saw the biggest gain for family-friendly Disney+ in 2020. The trend, according to Antenna cofounder and CEO Rameez Tase, was observed from data collected from opt-in consumer panels. Premium streaming services including HBO Now and Showtime also saw steep gains (90% and 78%, respectively).”