Local Broadcast TV Experiences Record Viewing from Elusive Adults 18-34 as Americans Stay Home


TVB Analysis of Nielsen data shows dramatic surge in viewing across key demos

NEW YORK, NY (March 25, 2020) – TVB, the not-for-profit trade association for local broadcast television, today announced results from an analysis of TV viewership during the COVID-19 pandemic. With a quarantine in effect across the country, TV viewership was expected to increase, but TVB’s analysis of Nielsen data indicates that local TV stations overall, and local news in particular, have experienced significant viewership gains. Of note, adult 18-34 viewership experienced double-digit increases in recent weeks and news daypart viewing, in particular, had tremendous lifts with stations’ local evening news viewership soaring in key demos over last year.

TVB analyzed Nielsen TV viewing in the 25 LPM markets from seven major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, Telemundo, Univision) for the first two weeks of March 2020, comparing them to the same time in 2019. Among key advertising demos (adults 18+ and adults 25-54) and dayparts, there was a significant increase in local broadcast TV viewing.  However, the rise in A18-34 viewing was particularly dramatic, because:

  1. This cohort has long been written off by pundits and digital evangelizers as having given up on TV, and yet their numbers are up by double- and triple-digit percentages over 2019.
  2. The A18-34 demo is not usually associated with high news viewing.
  3. They also are deemed among the most skeptical of demographic segments, and yet they are trusting local TV news for their information.

Other recent research from GfK has shown that local TV is considered the most trusted source of news among all major media, by a considerable margin. 

“Local broadcast TV, our stations’ linear and digital news, remains the most trusted of all media and a key source of information, especially during this time of crisis and local emergency,” said Steve Lanzano, President and CEO of TVB. “As our advertiser and agency customers pivot their marketing strategies, it is important they have this essential information about a key and often elusive demo, adults 18-34. Local TV broadcasters remain committed to providing accurate, timely and useful information to every viewer in the country. We wish all Americans well.”

For more information:
Download Full Analysis | Download A18-34 Analysis


About TVB:
TVB is the not-for-profit trade association representing America’s local broadcast television industry.

Angela Sundstrom
Director, Communications, TVB

Marni Raitt
DiGennaro Communications

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