Broadcast TV Viewership During Coronavirus

Three Week Analysis March 2020 vs. March 2019

Download Full Analysis | Download A18-34 Analysis

March 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 the first three weeks of March 2020, 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: the average impressions of first 3 weeks in March 2019 versus 2020
    • Wk 1 2019: 3/4/19 – 3/10/19
    • Wk 2 2019: 3/11/19 – 3/17/19
    • Wk 3 2019: 3/18/19 – 3/24/19
    • Wk 1 2020: 3/2/20 – 3/8/20
    • Wk 2 2020: 3/9/20 – 3/15/20
    • Wk 3 2020: 3/16/20 – 3/22/20
  • Dayparts examined: Total day, News, Prime
  • Streams: Live, Live+1
  • Demos: A18+, A18-34, A25-54

Key findings:

  • Overall viewership increased in the first three weeks of March 2020 over the same weeks last year.
  • The most dramatic increases occurred:
    • Daypart: News, especially evening news
    • Target: Adults 18-34
  • Even without live sports, live viewing is up.

  • Source: Nielsen, NLTV, A18-34 Imp for 25 LPMs. M-F Local News: 10-11:30p, 4-8p, 5-7a. ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, NBC, Tel, Uni


    Source: Nielsen, NLTV, A18-34 Imp for 25 LPMs. M-F Local News 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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