Executives from NBC, Nielsen, Telemundo, and Estrella Media, among others, discussed how viewership increases resulting from the pandemic shifted the prevalence of local TV and series, and presented opportunities for both markets to attract more viewers and brand investment in 2021.
During NATPE Miami 2021’s session, “A New Day For TV Stations,” executives from Nielsen, NBC, and Estrella Media, among others, noted that events such as the pandemic and other political occurrences have shifted local TV viewership. The virtual event’s session, “How Series Became Big Business,” covered the prevalence of series.
VP, Audience Insights of Nielsen Justin LaPorte highlighted that April was the most viewed month for TV in 2020, shortly after the pandemic was declared. While linear tv usage was down by almost 2%, from 13.7 to 12.1, TV streaming has increased by 1%. Broadcast viewing has decreased from 18.7 to 17.9 between November of 2019 and November 2020. Viewing time among adults during the day has also massively spiked. The most viewed types of programs include a spike in news towards the beginning of 2020, followed by equal figures among news, sports as live events were suspended, and entertainment as people sought distractions, in November.
All executives agreed that TV stations and news had contributed to the TV viewership increases. Over 2 billion more minutes of news in November 2020 than 2019, over 43% of total viewing was to the news. Local news served as the strongest division within the genre. More people are turning to broadcast, antenna-driven TV. The pandemic, along with other events that occurred within the last year such as the protest that broke into the Capitol on 6th January. Viewership for all tv increase, with cable rising by rose 142% broadcast by almost 50%. Gen-Z audiences are also increasing.“People want information that is going to help them in this day-to-day crisis that we are in," Catherine Herkovic, EVP, Managing Director Local Television Nielsen, said. "Where do they turn? “They turn to local news.”
Nick Valls, WGen Estrella Media in Miami, noted that the network offers an alternative to what its bigger competitors offer to attract an audience. To cope with the demand for news, the network launched a 24-hour digital news service. Though local ad revenues are changing, most broadcasters are still implementing the strategy to choose ad partners that correlate with big events, such as the pandemic, this year’s Olympics, and football. Estrella Media incorporated a 1-minute integration for appropriate advertisers.
In terms of series, the event highlighted “Selena, The Series,” which debuted on 4th December. The show was watched by 25 million households within the first month after its premiere. The show has been one of the ten most-watched shows on Netflix on nearly 61% of the days since the Top 10 feature launched. The pandemic drove producers to search their archives and turn physical ideas and stories into a digital form, leading to an increase in series. It also opened up the opportunity for companies to distribute their series on AVOD and SVOD services as viewership increased amid the pandemic.
Joint Founder and Co-Executive Chairman of Avalon, Jon Thoday, for example, explained that the pandemic presented an opportunity to distribute its content to the US, which was a larger challenge previously. Examples of series that are thriving and represent the increasing viewership of streaming include “Law And Order” and “Dallas.”
People want information that is going to help them in this day-to-day crisis that we are in. Where do they turn? They turn to local news.” Catherine Herkovic EVP, Managing Director Local Television, Nielsen