A total of 1.3 trillion minutes of comedy programming were consumed across the US through both, streaming platforms and local/national TV, including the 234 million minutes worth of viewing time for classics like “Friends,” “Family Matters,” “Golden Girls” and “Two and a Half Men” combined.
Nielsen’s latest research report indicates that the comedy genre has seen a large resurgence amid the pandemic. “It’s true, the growing abundance of media choices is helping people across the country find something to smile about when they want to turn away from the news and get that happy feeling again. And comedy programs are coming to the rescue,” the researcher said.
Consumers ages 2 and older have watched approximately 11.4 billion minutes of comedy programming last year, almost 400% more than in 2019, when viewers watched just 2.3 billion minutes. Though the genre has seen a 9% nationwide decline, mainly caused by higher demands in other areas such as news, Nielsen’s data indicates 234 million minutes worth of viewing time among classics like “Friends,” “Family Matters,” “Golden Girls” and “Two and a Half Men” combined.
A total of 1.3 trillion minutes of comedy were consumed nationwide, contributed through both streaming services as well as local and national TV. The appeal of watching the genre derived from its wide availability across multiple platforms. While “The Office” made headlines for garnering high streaming viewership and seeing 4% more viewed minutes of the show last year on traditional TV it did in 2019, “Friends” accumulated 97 billion viewing minutes across national TV. With its HBO launch in the US, and Netflix launch in Canada, Australia, and the U.K, the show’s viewership is expected to increase. “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two-and-a-Half Men” are no longer available through traditional syndicated TV programming only.
Nielsen’s report also indicated that comedy viewership preference varies by city. For example, the average consumer in Pittsburgh watched two hours and 25 minutes of comedy programming each week last year, which is dramatically higher than the 49 minutes viewers in Salt Lake City spent watching comedy shows each week. On an annual basis, it compares 126 hours per person versus 43.