TV Usage Continues Slide From March COVID Peaks

Total use of television fell 3% in the week of April 20, according to Nielsen, continuing to slowly slide from the peak seen in March when people were first confined to their homes to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Live TV was down 4% and time-shifted TV was down 4%. Video game console use was down 6% and internet-connected device use was down 3%.

The biggest decline came among viewers in the 18-24 age bracket.

Compared to the beginning of March, TV usage is still up substantially in local markets. In New York, Baltimore, Boston, Tampa and Buffalo, TV usage is up more than 15% for the week of April 20 compared to the week of March 9.

Streaming was also down in the week of April 20 at 147.2 billion minutes, compared to 154.5 the prior week. But streaming is still up substantially from a year ago, when 78.9 billion minutes were streamed.

Netflix retained its leading 32% share among streamers.

The most streamed shows were Ozark, Tiger King, The Office, All American and Grey’s Anatomy.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.