Coronavirus: UK TV viewing approaches Xmas peak levels | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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With millions of people in the country now at home during both their working and learning days due to the Covid-19 outbreak, UK TV viewers have increased their small screen consumption already according to viewing figures released by BARB.

BARB 1April2020The leading measurement firm found that over the past month as the UK has experienced unprecedented change as it responds to the Covid-19 pandemic, TV has become a key medium for people to get the latest news on the fast-moving situation.

In its What People Watch study measuring viewing on a daily basis, BARB said that it was already clear how viewer behaviour was changing. For the week ending 22 March 2020, consolidated seven-day TV set viewing to BARB-reported channels was 210 minutes a day on average. This was an increase of 28 minutes a day compared with the same week in 2019. Viewing in the earlier weeks of 2020 has generally been below 2019 levels, and the additional viewing has bucked the trend. This level of 3 hours and 30 minutes of TV set viewing a day is now approaching the amounts that BARB usually sees over Christmas, traditionally peak period of television viewing.

BARB also found that on a weekly basis, unidentified viewing on a TV set, which includes all types of TV set use that aren’t viewing to a BARB-reported channel or service — such as through DVD viewing, catch-up, viewing more than 28 days after broadcast, gaming, or viewing to SVOD or online video services — was tracking above 2019, with a recent jump. The week ending 22 March also saw the number of unidentified viewing minutes rise to 71 a day on average – an increase of 19 minutes compared with the same week in 2019. This though was still far below the viewing minutes to BARB-reported channels.

BARB noted that its data did not yet include the viewing from the week ending 29 March which included the Prime Ministerial address with the stay-at-home directive. It added that current indications are that the week will see continued strong performance for viewing to BARB-reported channels, as well as for unidentified viewing.

Commenting on possible future viewing revealed in the What People Watch study, Jeremy Martin, insights manager at BARB said: “As the stay-at-home instruction remains in place and broadcast schedules and programming continue to adapt in response, we can expect to see further changes in people’s viewing behaviour.”