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The post-pandemic web pullback that wasn’t, defined in 3 charts


There has been loads of chin-scratching about how the pandemic modified the best way we work together with the web, and the way that will change once more because the pandemic recedes. At one level, we have been assured that the pandemic was “accelerating the digital transformation.” Now maybe we’re not so sure.

But right here’s one other method of taking a look at it: If you went to sleep at first of 2020 and simply wakened now, issues could be just about the place you assume they might be: We’re nonetheless glued to our digital gadgets, solely extra so.

We may write extra about this. But generally photos — or on this case, charts — do method higher than phrases. Let’s take a fast survey of how we’re spending our time on-line, what’s modified, and what meaning.

This summer season, as an illustration, marked a serious milestone for the streaming video world: It’s the primary time, per Nielsen, that Americans watched extra streaming TV than cable.

It’s attainable, by the best way, that this chart will transfer round a bit this fall when conventional TV networks will trot out their new exhibits (in streaming, new stuff comes on the display on a regular basis). But it’s a reminder that the streaming genie isn’t going again within the bottle, even when massive media firms and their buyers may like that. The trick is determining learn how to generate income off of streaming — one thing Netflix is just getting around to doing, and a few of its new opponents, like Disney and Warner Brothers Discovery, now need to do as effectively.

The firm previously often known as Facebook, in the meantime, makes loads of cash — Meta recorded almost $40 billion in earnings in 2021 — however customers are one other story. Growth in any respect of its apps is slowing, and the unique Facebook service actually lost users on the finish of final yr earlier than bumping up again the following spring.

Chart: Share of teens who use each social media platform. Teens are bailing on Facebook but love TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube

If you’re an everyday reader of this column, you already know that TikTok has turn out to be a serious downside for Meta — one the corporate usually factors out, and one which it’s attempting to resolve by making its apps more like TikTok. But Facebook has one other longstanding competitor in YouTube, and simply because the world’s greatest video service doesn’t get that a lot consideration from the press doesn’t imply it’s not … the world’s greatest video service. Which is why it stays enormously popular for the young internet users Facebook wish to appeal to once more.

And final, a chart that admittedly has particular attraction to the authors of this story, since we’ve each made podcasts for a residing: Turns out that individuals who like podcasts proceed to love podcasts, and that their curiosity in podcasts has continued to develop it doesn’t matter what’s taking place round them. Important notice: This knowledge from measurement service Podtrac doesn’t inform us if the quantity of people that devour podcasts is rising, and there actually isn’t nice knowledge for that. One first rate proxy, although: Spotify, which has spent an infinite sum of money on its podcast technique, says its number of podcast listeners has continued to grow.

Chart showing that podcast streams and downloads jumped 50 percent since 2019



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