Comscore Research Reveals Coronavirus Crisis is Dramatically Impacting Media Consumption

First of an ongoing special investigation into how the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to significant audience and consumer behavior changes across platforms

RESTON, Va., March 18, 2020 – As the global Coronavirus crisis grows, consumers are making significant changes to the way they interact with content and advertising across platforms.

As the world adjusts to this new reality, Comscore (NASDAQ: SCOR), a trusted partner for planning, transacting, and evaluating media across platforms, will be providing ongoing updates on shifting consumption trends and the resulting impact on the advertising and media industries.

Comscore’s comprehensive COVID-19 insights hub, which will be updated on a regular basis, can be found here:

Among the key findings from Comscore’s initial research:

  • In a time of crisis, people turn to local news: The top 25 markets registered an 11% increase in viewing for the week of March 9, compared to the week of Feb. 10.
  • Interest soars for government healthcare information sources: Total digital visits (mobile and desktop) and mobile web-only visits to the CDC, NIH and WHO sites have seen incredible recent growth. Total digital visits were up 425% March 9-15 vs. Jan. 6-12, and the week of March 9-15 was up 79% over the week prior.
  • Pervasive public demand for news: Across 40 select news sites, the week of March 9-15 was the highest week of news visits this year, by far – more than 100 million more news visits than next highest week (which was the previous week March 2-8). We saw 23.4% growth the week of March 9-15 vs. Mar 2-8 and 30.9% growth vs. Jan. 6-12.
  • Spikes for the e-commerce giants as social distancing and local restrictions impact in-store retail: Total digital visits to an aggregate of Amazon, Walmart and Target’s sites registered 779 million visits the week of March 9-15 – the highest number of visits of any week so far in 2020. Comscore data also showed 3.8% growth versus the previous week (and the second highest week-over-week growth of the year with the highest being 4.7% growth the week of Feb. 24 to March 1).
  • Global movement restrictions lead to tumultuous traffic for travel sites: Looking at 20 of the top travel sites, including airlines, aggregators, hospitality, etc., travel visits declined 7.3% the week of Feb. 24 to March 1 and declined again 4.8% the week of March 2-8. However, travel spiked the week of March 9-15, increasing 9.5%. This could be due to a large number of trip cancellations occurring this week requiring visits to the travel sites to rebook or cancel plans. In addition, many major airlines and travel companies began offering inexpensive flights and deals during this time which may have driven some increased demand.
  • Hollywood grapples with the Coronavirus impact on moviegoing activity. Comscore’s Paul Dergarabedian noted that “It's so hard to predict how this will play out. It's an ever-changing, ever-evolving situation that the entire world is trying to wrap their minds around. For the short term, obviously there's an impact." Receipts totaled about $54.7 million in U.S. and Canada theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday. Not since 2000 has weekend box office revenue been so low, according to data firm Comscore, when $54.5 million in tickets were sold on a quiet September weekend.

About Comscore
Comscore (NASDAQ: SCOR) is the 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 linear TV audiences and advertising at scale, Comscore is the industry’s emerging, third-party source for reliable and comprehensive cross-platform measurement.

Marie Scoutas
Comscore, Inc.

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