Broadcast TV Viewership During Coronavirus

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Analysis of March and April 2020 vs. 2019

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March and April 2020 have 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 the 4 weeks of both March and April , comparing them to the same time in 2019. Among key demos and dayparts, there has been a strong increase in broadcast TV viewing.

What we examined:

  • Geography: 25 LPM markets
  • Source: 7 Broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, Telemundo, Univision
  • Weeks: compared March and April, 2019 versus 2020, averaging the weekly cumed impressions in the 25 LPMs
  • Dayparts examined: Total day, News, Prime
  • Streams: Live, Live+1
  • Demos: A18+, A18-34, A25-54

Key findings:

  • Overall viewership increased in March and April over the same weeks last year.
  • The most dramatic increases occurred:
  • Even without live sports, live viewing is up.


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: 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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