Local Broadcast TV Viewership Is Booming, Offering Targeting Opportunities for Political Campaigns


COVID-19 Fundamentally Changing TV Viewing Habits,
Including 35+ Demographic

NEW YORK, NY (April 16, 2020) - The COVID-19 crisis has forced millions of Americans to stay home, changing daily habits substantially and leading to dramatic increases in local broadcast television viewing. To better understand these changing media habits, The Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) released a four-week analysis of Nielsen broadcast TV viewership data among key age demographics. The analysis compared the month of March 2020 by week to the same weeks in March 2019.

TVB’s analysis found substantially increased levels of broadcast TV viewership, especially among adults 35 and older. These viewers want to hear about their communities straight from the sources they trust the most—their local broadcast stations. The data shows that local broadcast TV will be key to campaigns in reaching this critical demographic during an election year.  

Key findings include:

  • Among adults 35+, live viewership of Monday-Friday late news increased 34 percent by the end of March.
  • By the third week of March, live viewership of all local news Monday-Friday saw a 50 percent increase among adults 35+.
  • Adults 35+ live viewing in the third week of March 2020 of prime-time programming, (Monday-Saturday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) had an 18 percent increase.

“With traditional campaigning on hold across America, political campaigns must shift their strategies in order to reach voters at home,” said TVB President and CEO Steve Lanzano. “Now more than ever, the most effective way for campaigns to reach voters at home is through local broadcast television. Local TV viewership is growing, which presents political campaigns and ad buyers with a terrific opportunity to engage likely voters. Advertising on local stations will enable candidates to reach even more of the audiences that will be critical to electoral success in 2020.”

TVB analyzed TV viewership for the four weeks of March 2020, comparing them to the same period in 2019. The analysis measured viewership among key age demographics. Dayparts examined included total day, news, and prime time of seven broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, Telemundo, and Univision.

For more information, visit the Broadcast TV Viewership during the Coronavirus page.

About TVB:
TVB is the not-for-profit trade association representing America’s local broadcast television industry. To learn more visit www.tvb.org.

About We Get Voters:
We Get Voters is a campaign created by the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) to promote local broadcast TV’s voter influence and political impact.

Maggie Sherouse
The Herald Group
(202) 617-3079


© 2016, Television Bureau of Advertising, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication and redistribution of this report in total, other than by TVB members or its authorized agents or designees, without written permission is strictly forbidden. Any republication, in whole or in part, must include credit to TVB and its sources. Terms of Use.
Web Site Designed by Personify Corp