Subscription Companies Help Americans Stay Connected During Pandemic

Part one of a two-part series about subscription companies doing their part in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

Now considered a worldwide pandemic, and a national emergency in the United States, Coronavirus COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. As of Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 11:20 a.m., there were 162,687 confirmed cases of Coronavirus COVID-19, along with 75,620 who have recovered and 6,065 who have died from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University. China has been the hardest hit with 81,003 confirmed cases, followed by Italy at 21,157, and Iran at 13,938. The United States had 3,244 confirmed cases, and the numbers grow daily, as nations try to stop the spread.

Businesses around the world have been impacted in countless ways, some devastated by the loss of business and others who are stepping in to try to help. We are already seeing the impacts to the subscription industry, both positive and negative, in the wake of the pandemic. This includes everything from streaming services and news outlets who are seeing record traffic to food delivery services and distance learning opportunities. Today, we’ll take a look at some of those impacts.

Map courtesy of John Hopkins University, data as of March 15, 2020 at 11:20 a.m.

LinkedIn Provides Coronavirus Updates and Free Tools to Support Remote Work

Under the Microsoft umbrella of companies, LinkedIn is doing its part to keep people connected and informed. This is more important than ever as parents of school-aged kids explore childcare options, workers are given the option of telecommuting to prevent the spread of the disease, and others are laid off due to a lack of work. In addition to providing regular updates about the virus and links to resources, LinkedIn is helping people to become productive, no matter how the pandemic is affecting them.

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Here are a few of the steps LinkedIn is taking to support the workforce.

  • A global team of 60+ LinkedIn editors are curating news and updates about the coronavirus from trusted sources, including how companies are responding, what policies are changing, and best practices for companies and their staff.
  • Companies and organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO) are using LinkedIn Live to live stream to limit in-person gatherings.
  • LinkedIn is offering 16 LinkedIn Learning courses for free which includes ways to stay productive, how to build relationships virtually, using virtual meeting tools like Skype, BlueJeans Meetings, WebEx and Zoom, and balancing family and work in an ever-changing environment. The courses, including Time Management, Productivity Tips, Managing Stress for Positive Change and Building Resilience, have been viewed thousands of times.

Learn more about LinkedIn’s commitment to the global business community on the official LinkedIn blog.

Courtesy of LinkedIn

Demand for Food Delivery and Streaming Services Bring Food and Entertainment to Isolated Americans

As people are opting to stay in and to practice social distancing, or “cocooning,” some subscription services are seeing a boost in demand, reports The Guardian. According to a survey by payment provider Barclaycard, streaming video services like Netflix have seen 12.4% growth in subscriptions, while food delivery services like Deliveroo have increased 8.7%.

Source: Deliveroo

Though Netflix is near the end of its first quarter of 2020, the streaming company could expect to see a boost in subscriptions during the first and second quarters of the year, reports NASDAQ.com. One analyst is predicting that subscription growth in the U.S. and Canada could grow to 3.8% year-over-year, double some analysts’ estimates. We believe this is due to the fact that more consumers are staying home right now. For example, in the U.S., many jurisdictions including Washington state and Oregon, have closed schools for the next six weeks. Also, more people are being allowed to telecommute.

The lack of sports coverage will also have an impact on entertainment choices. According to CBS Sports, the NBA has suspended its regular season indefinitely, the NCAA has cancelled the 2020 Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the MLB has canceled what’s left of spring training, and the NHL is putting its season on pause for now. Sports fans are likely to find other entertainment to watch. This means that streaming sports subscriptions are likely to see churn, while more broad-based streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and CBS All Access are likely to benefit.

80 Broadband and Phone Service Providers Sign on to Keep Americans Connected

On Friday, Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai announced that more than 80 broadband and telephone service providers and trade associations took a pledge to “Keep Americans Connected” during the coronavirus pandemic. The FCC chair and staff called the providers and associations to ask them to commit to the following for the next 60 days:

  1. Not terminate service to any residential or small business customers due to inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic,
  2. Waive any late fees that residential and small business customers incur because of a change in economic circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic, and
  3. Open up WiFi hotspots to any American who needs them

Among the providers who took the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge are AT&T, T-Mobile, Comcast, Cox, Verizon, CenturyLink, Charter, Sprint and others.

“As the coronavirus outbreak spreads and causes a series of disruptions to the economic, educational, medical, and civic life of our country, it is imperative that Americans stay connected. Broadband will enable them to communicate with their loved ones and doctors, telework, ensure their children can engage in remote learning, and – importantly – take part in the ‘social distancing’ that will be so critical to limiting the spread of this novel coronavirus,” said Chairman Pai. “That’s why I’m asking all broadband and telephone service providers to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. I don’t want any American consumers experiencing hardships because of the pandemic to lose connectivity.”

“I applaud those companies that have already taken the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. They are stepping up to the plate and taking critical steps that will make it easier for Americans to stay connected during this pandemic and maintain much-needed social distancing. I urge other companies to join them. This may be a difficult time for our nation, but if we all work together, I am confident that we can rise to the challenge,” Chairman Pai added.

Pai also noted that some carriers have taken extra steps to assist veterans and low-income households to stay connected and lessen restrictions on data caps. Read more about the Keep Americans Connected Pledge on the FCC’s website.

Source: Bigstock Photo