Broadcast TV Viewership During Coronavirus

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Download: March, April, May, June, July & August | A18-34 | Hispanics | PR general | PR 35+

2020 has been marked by the threat of COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11th. This crisis has forced millions of Americans to stay home, while the phrases “social distancing” and “self-quarantine” have taken over the media and become part of our daily conversation. TV has been an essential source for audiences looking for critical information and updates on the coronavirus, as well as a key source of entertainment.

TVB analyzed TV viewership for March, April, May, June, July and August comparing them to the same time last year, finding the percent difference vs 2019. Among key demos and dayparts, there has been a strong increase in broadcast TV viewing from last year.

What we examined:

  • Geography: 25 LPM markets
  • Source: 7 Broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, Telemundo, Univision
  • Weeks: compared March, April, May, June, July and August 2019 versus 2020, averaging the weekly cumed impressions in the 25 LPMs
  • Demos: A18+, A18-34, A25-54

Key findings:

  • Overall viewership increased in March, April, May, June, July and August over the same weeks last year.
  • The most dramatic increases occurred in evening news, specifically for 18-34.


Source: Nielsen, NLTV, monthly average of weekly cumed impressions in the 25 LPMs. M-F Local News: M-F 4-8p. ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, NBC, Tel, Uni


Source: GfK TVB Media Comparisons Study 2020. Persons 18-34. Agree Strongly or Agree Somewhat. Q9 - For each source, please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement: I trust the News that I see/hear on this media source

For more information, please contact Hadassa Gerber, EVP, Chief Research Officer, TVB.

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