Comscore Sees Signs of Stabilization in Local Television Consumption
Local TV consumption levels in markets with stay-at-home orders remain up between 13 percent and 15 percent year over year, while markets with lifted restrictions returned to near pre-pandemic levels
RESTON, Va., May 28, 2020 – New research from Comscore (Nasdaq: SCOR), a trusted partner for planning, transacting and evaluating media across platforms, shows that as states start to lift stay-at-home restrictions and Americans look for ways to occupy their time outside of their homes, local television consumption is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Using its StationView Essentials solution, Comscore examined the changes in television viewing habits during the pandemic. By looking at Sets in Use (SIU) levels, Comscore measured the percentage of TV sets in the market that are tuned in to any linear TV station or channel across the week on a 24-hour average across TV markets that represent three different stay at home order levels - Orders in Place, Orders Lifted, and Order Nevers (markets that never had any stay at home mandates to begin with). Markets included:
- Orders in Place: Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles & New York
- Orders Lifted: Atlanta, Columbia, SC & Nashville
- Order Nevers: Des Moines & Sioux Falls
All three categories experienced increased TV viewing levels beginning in March 2020 whether they were under stay at home orders or not, with peaks during the week of March 23, 2020. However, when all weekly SIU were compared to the week of February 10, 2020, there are noticeable differences between these groups.
Virus hot spots with Orders in Place, like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit, had consistently higher viewing levels that experienced a slight drop-off from the peak week of March 23, 2020 and plateaued from the week of March 30, 2020 until the week of April 27, 2020. Orders Lifted markets also followed this pattern, but with lower relative viewing levels and declines starting during the week of April 20, 2020. Order Never markets like Des Moines and Sioux Falls showed a much sharper and steadier decline in viewing levels post-peak.
While viewing levels across all categories are still higher than during the week of February 10, 2020, Order Never markets are almost back to SIU levels seen in February 2020, making them the fastest group to do so, with the Orders Lifted markets being not too far behind. Orders in Place markets continue to have the highest relative viewing levels compared to February 10, 2020.
Orders in Place markets follow a pattern of sharp SIU increases from the weeks of March 2, 2020 through March 23, 2020. Overall, Orders in Place markets’ SIU levels are still up between 13 percent and 15 percent compared to the week of February 10, 2020.
In Orders Lifted markets, Columbia, SC and Atlanta lifted their stay-at-home orders during the week of April 20, 2020 – Columbia on April 20th and Atlanta on April 24th. Nashville reopened on April 27th. During the week of April 27th, SIU levels in Columbia dropped four percentage points and dropped nine percentage points in Nashville. SIU levels in Nashville are almost back to normal, and Columbia is not far behind. Atlanta continued to sustain higher viewing levels relative to the week of February 10th, and while there has been a drop-off during the week of April 27th, the market still retains viewing levels that are nine percent higher than in pre-COVID-19 times.
Individual markets in the Order Nevers category are almost identical, showing steep declines following the week of March 23, 2020.
While overall SIU levels are beginning to trend downward, the markets evaluated are still on average 14 percent higher compared to this time last year.
Media consumption trends will continue to be impacted as additional markets begin to lift orders. Comscore is providing ongoing insights into changing consumption trends and will provide frequent updates on its Coronavirus Insights Hub. To learn more about how Comscore can provide you with custom insights into media consumption, or help you engage with COVID-19 content in a way that makes sense for your brand, contact us today.
Comscore (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a trusted partner for planning, transacting and evaluating media across platforms. With a data footprint that combines digital, linear TV, over-the-top and theatrical viewership intelligence with advanced audience insights, Comscore allows media buyers and sellers to quantify their multiscreen behavior and make business decisions with confidence. A proven leader in measuring digital and TV audiences and advertising at scale, Comscore is the industry’s emerging, third-party source for reliable and comprehensive cross-platform measurement. To learn more, visit www.comscore.com