A recent Nielsen webinar discussed the latest media trends during COVID-19. With people largely staying in their homes, television viewership numbers rose. During this time, people were actively searching for the latest information regarding the virus, contributing to an increase in local television viewership.
The week of March 16, many states implemented stay at home orders, correlating with the rise in viewership. The following week, viewership numbers reached their peak, with an 8% increase in television viewership compared to the same time in 2019.
Nielsen sampled local newscasts in ten random media markets during the week of April 27, finding that the viewership numbers increased from a range of 6% to as high as 23%. Now, as we approach warmer weather and as states begin to re-open, Nielsen is seeing the numbers return to normal rates.
It is no surprise that streaming also surged in viewership. Throughout March and April, YouTube viewership doubled, nearly tripling in some cases, compared to the same time in 2019. Netflix had the two most streamed programs during March and April, “Ozark” and “Tiger King.”
Even though people may have felt socially isolated during the peak of stay-at-home orders, it has been comforting to know many of us were tuning in to the same programs. As the country begins to phase in re-openings, we’ll look to Nielsen to keep us updated on viewership trends.