Stop streaming right now -- if you want to save the environment. Or maybe just cut back a bit.
New research shows that four hours of streaming generates roughly the same emissions as driving one mile, according to the Greening of Streaming.
What to do? Perhaps just avoid all screens for one day a week, we’re guessing. This probably goes hand in hand with some medical and nutrition-minded professionals who consider “intermittent” fasting to be a thing.
Now this is going to be a challenge, because this runs against heavy marketing among all premium OTT/streaming platforms -- especially services that hype vast amounts of new, recent and old TV shows.
High-level bingeing contributed to the higher carbon emissions problem, we’re guessing.
Is the goal moderation? Consider what this means for budding and money-losing premium streaming services looking to get to some critical mass -- and of course, profitability. Still growing services like HBO Max, Peacock, Paramount+, and perhaps throwing in Apple TV+ want to see higher overall usage.
All streamers want more time with consumers to instill long-held habits. And if those services are advertising-supported you’ll watch more ads.
Marketing visibility keeps telling consumers not to "churn" them off -- to riff on a dreaded industry term.
Current research backs other older estimates about carbon emissions. A peer-reviewed paper published in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Berkeley National Laboratory estimated that video streaming from all devices -- including smartphones, TV sets -- generates 0.4 kilos of carbon for every streaming hour watched.
The carbon footprint for all of the internet -- systems and devices -- account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions, according to The Shift Project -- which is estimated to double by 2025.
Are you thinking that old-school TV viewing might be better?
One estimate from RampRate, a global supply-chain consultant, via NAB Amplify, says streaming video consumes 31.6 million tons of CO2 per year. But linear TV is worse -- responsible for 62 metric tons of CO2 a year.
In that regard, when will it be time to go on your streaming and TV diet?