Comcast Shares TV Watching Trends During COVID-19; More Customers Turn To News

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Tennesseans have been spending more time in front of the TV during the coronavirus pandemic and viewing habits continue to change, according to officials at Comcast.

Comcast has released data that shows, among other interesting trends, that more people are turning to TV news than ever before.  "What’s most interesting is that when taking a deeper look at the data, we are seeing other new behaviors, such as shifts in daily viewing patterns, changes in when programming is being watched, and ways content is being accessed," officials said. "We’re watching more news. A lot more.

"With journalists working around the clock to keep the world informed on the pandemic, we’ve seen massive engagement, including a 64 percent increase in consumption of news programming since the start of COVID, hitting its peak the week of March 30, the week the reported number of global COVID cases topped one million. Since that week, consumption has leveled off and we’re seeing about a 30 percent decrease in COVID-related voice commands.
 
"We’re watching a lot more TV late at night.  

"Comcast has seen a 40 percent upswing in viewing during the late-night hours suggesting customers are opting to stay up a little later than usual, with the largest increases happening between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. But apparently, they’re also sleeping in longer as Comcast has seen a 6 percent decrease in viewing during the hours of 6-8 a.m.

"We’re watching more than an extra workday’s worth of content each week.

"The average household is putting in an extra workday’s worth of viewing each week - watching eight+ hours more per week than they were in early March, going from approximately 57 hours a week per household to 66 hours.

"Dramas – not light-hearted content is King.

"The conventional wisdom is that, in times of crisis, viewers may prefer lighter content. Instead, they’re watching even heavier shows. Dramas, which are typically the most popular genre in normal times, have increased their share of viewing from 27 percent to 30 percent, followed by news (29 percent), comedy (28 percent), reality (15 percent), and action and adventure (15 percent). Aside from an increased appetite for news, and the absence of sports, tastes haven’t changed because of the pandemic.

"What day is it? Monday takes over number two spot as most popular day to watch TV.

"What our customers are likely feeling in self-isolation – that all the days are blurring together and it’s hard to tell which day is which – is reflected in daily TV trends, Comcast observed. Normally, Comcast sees noticeable distinctions between weekend and weekday viewing behaviors. Typically, customers watch far more programming on the weekend, and it’s also when they tend to take a break from their DVRs and watch more on demand content, including renting and purchasing movies. Since the start of COVID, these distinctions have blurred, and weekdays are seeing viewing levels and trends akin to the weekend. As a matter of fact, during COVID weeks, while Sunday remains the most popular day to watch television, Monday has taken over the number two spot from Saturday. 

"We’re craving something new.

"Finally, we’re seeing a slow decrease in DVR usage, paired with a huge uptick in VOD usage (50 percent) and double-digit growth for discovery-related voice commands such as 'what to watch' and 'surprise me,' suggesting customers have checked off their TV bucket lists and are seeking new shows."


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