May 13, 2020

It's been over 45 days since the lockdown mandates and we can safely agree that TV viewing habits changed during lockdown. The surge in TV watching has lead to new behaviors. Without the option to watch live sports, the result is more screen time for networks and marketers. Research was gathered from in-depth data from, the TV ad measurement company, and Inscape, the automatic content recognition company that pulls data directly from an opt-in panel of 14 million Vizio smart TVs across the U.S. The data showed changes brought to us by the lockdown. The study was conducted from March 12, when live sports came off the air, through April 26. Results shows us how COVID-19 has changed TV viewing.

Here’s how TV viewing habits changed during lockdown:

  • Media spending dedicated to promoting streaming services has more than doubled at 120 percent year over year.
  • According to Ad Age, there are 26 percent more brands advertising on TV (both linear and streaming) compared to a year ago. Overall, the brands who are advertising on TV are getting smarter with their strategies. According to iSpot, about 326 brands came to market with new pandemic-appropriate messaging.
  • Overall, TV viewing is up compared to last year. There have been 9.3 percent more ads delivered across linear, VOD and OTT during this 45 day period. This comes out to 81.3 billion more ad deliveries over the 45 days measured vs. the same time period last year.
  • According to iSpot, the usual sports-watching homes have been watching more morning talk, movies and children’s programming.

This is an unprecedented time for all of us and like the rest of us TV has had to adjust to this “new normal.” TV viewing habits changed during lockdown but will these changes hold as we transition back to what life was before COVID-19?Carolina Macedo, the author, is Project Coordinator of Marketing Keys. She has used this period to binge watch and catch up on her favorite series.

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May 13, 2020