17 MAR 2020
SPECIAL CONTENT

COVID-19 CAN LEAD TO A 60% INCREASE IN TV VIEWING IN THE UNITED STATES

As more people around the world are forced to remain in their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic, media usage is expected to increase considerably, according to a new report from Nielsen.

As more people around the world are forced to remain in their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic, media usage is expected to increase considerably, according to a new report from Nielsen.

In fact, Nielsen said that staying at home can lead to almost a 60% increase in the amount of content watched in the United States. “Considering that consumers around the globe are already leaning into the growing ray of content options and channels, a 60% increase is significant,”  the report says.

Viewers will also be tuning in to get the latest news about the pandemic. For shut-ins, media can also be a way to pass the time, find solace and stay in touch with others.

Media consumption in the United States was already at historically high levels. In its recent total audience report, Nielsen indicated that American spend nearly 12 hours a day with media. The same report found that three-fourths of consumers have been adding streaming subscriptions and TV connected devices, which give them even more media options.

People working from home -something more and more companies are urging their employees to do in the face of the virus- can also lead to higher levels of media consumption. Nielsen data suggest that people who work remotely Monday through Friday watched three hours more each week on traditional TV that people in offices. Remote workers spend more time watching on tablets and increase their amount of time listening to the radio.

Nielsen looked at what viewers were watching and found increases in feature films, news and general entertainment programming. The company also found a 61% increase in streaming.

In other parts of the world, the impact of the coronavirus is rising TV usage too: in South Korea, TV usage was up 17% in the last week in February from the second week of that month. In Italy, one of the most affected countries, there was a 6.5% increase in TV viewing and almost 12% more in the Lombardy region of the country during the last week of February, according to Auditel, the Italian Joint Industry Committee.

“As Covid-19 continues to spread, this serious health threat has already shaken world markets and, no doubt, will affect the media ecosystem. Understanding, and potentially hedging ad and media investments could help buoy any shrinking margins, build awareness for public health messages and maybe even get consumers’ worried minds off a threat through the power of entertainment,”  the report concluded.