Pandemic leads to a significant increase in streaming video usage

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Libraries are reporting an increase in digital use during the pandemic and a new study finds people are looking for more diversity at their local libraries.

A Kanopy study found nearly 94% of people checking out material considered diversity very important. Here in Tennessee some libraries, like Jackson State University have partnered with the Kanopy service to provide diversity.

“We wouldn’t be able to buy individual films. And we can never afford what Kanopy gives us that variety and a package that makes it much easier to for students, faculty or get information that supports this,” said Scott Cohen with Jackson State. “Kanopy has been a life saver for us during the pandemic.”

This service has more than 30-thousand films that range from ethnicity racial issues to inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community.

“There’s thousands of movies, you just type in a topic and it’s amazing. I’ve been very, very impressed with it,” added Cohen.

Kanopy’s CEO says he’s saw the increase in demand for the service as people are at home viewing more videos and using the libraries that offer the service.

“There’s the need to either give access, from an educational perspective like Scott’s library, or to kind of level the playing field for public libraries, or to a broad selection of films,” said Kevin Sayar, CEO Kanopy. “We are a very heavily used platform within the institutions. We’re very popular with the students. We give access to all the students, not just the faculty.”

Kanopy is helping more than 4,000 academic and public libraries around the globe fulfill the...
Kanopy is helping more than 4,000 academic and public libraries around the globe fulfill the need for Collection Diversity with a growing selection of films, many of which are unavailable on any other streaming video platform.(Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

Films of interest are “Race, The Power of An Illusion” and “Leave No Trace” can be found on the platform.

“Students get to browse and find what they’re looking for. Diversity and inclusion has always been an integral part of the Kanopy culture. It’s a bi-product of us supporting our customers in terms of the library itself. They are supporting the diverse needs of their student body,” said Sayar.

The survey also found, more than 47% of participants say streaming video budgets will increase in 2021 and over 71% expect an increase over the next three years. Comparatively, just over 9% of participants say their DVD budgets will increase in 2021 and approximately 15% expect an increase in the next three years.

49.6% of librarians believe it is their responsibility to support the curricula of K-12 schools with streaming films, and 32.0% say they are collaborating with schools or plan to in the near future. Comparatively, 31.0% say it is their responsibility to support local community colleges and 9.8% say they are collaborating with them or plan to in the near future.

Locally the Pigeon Forge library said they saw an 11% increase in people downloading their digital content last year.

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