U.S. daily TV viewing time up 15 minutes in Q2 2020 versus Q2 2019

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020
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New TV Viewership Report from Effectv Shows Households Consumed 8.5B Hours of TV Viewing in Q2 2020, Equating to 17 Additional Hours Per Household

  • Return of sports programming in Q2 drew loyal fans, with the MLB, NHL and NBA season starts and restarts averaging a viewership increase of 71% over last year

NEW YORK — Today, Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, released the latest edition of their TV Viewership Report. The report explores viewership trends for Q2, 2020 and compares those findings to the same period last year, as well as Q1 2020.

The new research revealed that TV viewership remained high in Q2, as consumers spent more time indoors with their televisions and connected devices. Households spent 15 minutes more time viewing TV in Q2 2020 versus Q2 2019, consuming 8.5 billion hours of TV viewing – an increase of over 200 million hours compared to the same time last year. That equates to over 17 hours of additional viewing per household versus Q2 2019.

“TV viewership is on the rise, and has been for the past eight quarters,” said John Brauer, Executive Director of Data, Insights and Innovation, Effectv. “The increases we see when comparing Q2 2020 to the same quarter last year is evidence of the resilience of TV during this unprecedented time. Despite the absence of much of the live sports programming, consumers still rely on TV for entertainment and information – perhaps something they need now more than ever before.”

Compared to last year, TV viewership increased in Q2 by 15 minutes, from 6:11 to 6:26 per day. The report suggests this rise was made up of several factors, including cable (+12 minutes), broadcast (+5 minutes), DVR/VOD (+3 minutes.) Interestingly, cable share increased 6% from weekday to weekend—a significant finding considering share between the two are typically consistent.

With sports beginning to return to TV programming, the report delved into viewership for that particular category. It found that even with limited sports available in Q2, fans have proven to be some of the most loyal TV viewers. In fact, the MLB, NHL and NBA starts and restarts of their seasons averaged a viewership increase of 71% over last year, with nearly 2.5 million households watching.

The research also looked at sports fans’ viewing outside of their favorite sport and found that these viewers have diverse interests. The report found that 55% of sports fans watch 3+ other sports as well, and have released an innovative “Effectv Sports Matrix,” which advertisers can use to find audiences tuning into the full spectrum of sports, based on their primary favorite sport. For example, according to the matrix, the MLB Superfan Viewer is more likely to also watch NHL, golf and NCAA Basketball.

Additional findings in the TV Viewership Report highlight the diversity of viewing habits for consumers in Q2, including:

  • Increasingly new ways to discover content means consumers continue to watch a diverse set of channels. Households watched an average of 30 different networks in Q2 2020.
  • 80% of households in the report watched video on demand (VOD), a 15% increase in daily time spent compared to the same time last year.
  • Cable TV viewing made up 68% of viewing share in Q2 2020, up one percentage point over last year. Broadcast share has also seen a slight uptick since 2019, while premium network share fell two percentage points.

“TV remains a powerful channel for advertisers to reach their audience at scale,” added Maria Weaver, CMO, Comcast Advertising. “And today, with consumers fragmenting their viewing across screens, an audience-based approach is critical for marketers. Despite the headwinds we’re encountering in 2020, we see that brands who stay on-air and take a forward-looking, data-based approach benefit in both in the short- and long-term.”

The TV Viewership Report is based on Comcast aggregate household viewership data.