How TV Viewing Behavior Has Changed During the Pandemic

50_0.jpg  Founder at GimmeGamma.

  WWS contributor


During the pandemic, watching TV became the most favorable medium and source for information, news, and entertainment. The content people are watching on TV is also changing.


No one could've prepared for how the year 2020 was going to turn out. The US consumption of news, media and other entertainment services changed significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Media companies saw higher engagement from consumers, who chose from multiple streaming options offering engaging content in alternate packages. Be it video streaming, listening to music, or playing video games, paid subscribers had the time to make endless choices with flexibility in prices for new services.

According to a survey by Deloitte done amid the pandemic, US consumers had at least 12 paid media subscriptions. In addition, 27% of consumers, including 42% of Millennials, said that they planned to subscribe to even more services in the coming year.

Another study by ResearchandMarkets showed that OTT (over-the-top) players such as Netflix, Disney, NFL, and NBC had invested in creating OTT TV apps to bring their videos directly to the consumers.

With 40% of US homes already using a smart device to stream their content, the percentage of smart TV penetration increased significantly. They further added that more than 65-70% of US broadband households owned at least one streaming entertainment product, and 50% owned a smart TV.

As the country was under quarantine in the past year, watching TV became the most favorable medium and primary source for information, news updates, and entertainment. Along with the increase in viewership and streaming hours on OTT platforms, the content had gotten more personalized to suit the viewers.

By mid-March 2020, there was a surge in TV viewing and by the end of the month, broadcast viewing had increased by 19%, while cable viewing increased by 73% compared to the previous year.

Reports by Nielson state that news consumption saw an increase in Q2 of 2020. 47% of the US consumers had watched or streamed news channels, making it one of the top most-watched genres. Other genres included comedy (40%) when viewers wanted a break from the news, movies (36%), or drama (30%).

The spread of the COVID-19 gave an opportunity to US consumers to try new methods to remain entertained throughout the pandemic period. During this time, 38% of the users tried a new digital activity or subscription for the first time. Some of these activities included watching live-streamed events, sharing a digital platform to view videos, viewing short-form video content, videoconferencing, and so on.

The majority of the consumers are keen to continue these trends following the pandemic.


Statistical Study of the Shift in TV Viewing Behavior – Infographic


Below is an infographic that highlights the various other factors contributing to the transformation of media trends, devices, and engagement patterns. The visual data also suggests how consumer behavior may alter in the future or evolve in the post-pandemic period.


Iyan Adeendren is Founder at GimmeGamma, a search-driven content marketing & PR company. Connect with him on LinkedIn.