Advanced Television

Research: Continuing surge in US daytime TV viewing

April 1, 2020

Insights from Comscore reveal the extent to which US households are now tuning into daytime TV viewership and how television remains a vital outlet for Americans navigating the Covid-19 pandemic.

Comscore’s sampling of preliminary data of the top 25 markets – in this case, New York, Dallas, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Sacramento and Indianapolis – shows increases in viewership throughout the early morning and daytime dayparts. The average of these five markets reveals that viewing levels are almost 10 per cent higher at 6 a.m. this year versus last year, and that growth continues as the day progresses.

These viewing trends represent a change from the comparable time period in 2019, when viewership levels would peak and plateau around 8 a.m. and stay flat until the early fringe daypart. In a clear demonstration of how the Covid-19 pandemic has altered the TV viewing landscape, Comscore’s newest numbers confirm that viewing levels continue to grow until noon, at which time they peak and plateau until the early fringe.

A deeper analysis of hour-by-hour growth in viewing levels shows the impact of school closures and millions of Americans currently working from home. The commute-heavy hours of 7 a.m. to 8 a.m, and 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., show the most prominent year-over-year jumps.

Viewership isn’t changing just in large markets. These trends are taking place locally across the country as communities large and small work to confine themselves at home in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19. For instance, in Wilkes Barre-Scranton-Hazleton, Comscore’s information shows, on average, over 30 per cent increases YOY for local newscasts during the daytime, early fringe, prime access and late news time periods, with one station’s 11 a.m. local news up by 70 per cent and their 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts up by roughly 50 per cent. In this market, early morning newscasts are, on average, basically flat.

“It’s clear that the ongoing pandemic has altered television viewing patterns, and advertisers should take note of these shifts using Comscore to ensure they are connecting with consumers when they are most engaged,” said Bill Livek, CEO, Comscore.

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