Lockdown drives Virgin Media customers to tune in to TV | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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The UK’S Covid-19 stay-at-home has seen a marked shift viewing habits and now cable provider Virgin Media has released data showing that its customers spent 41 minutes longer per day watching TV in the early stages of lockdown, a 10% increase in total TV viewership.
VirginnMediaBigBundle 29June2020
Virgin defines the lockdown as beginning on Monday 23 March and its data found that the following Saturday was its busiest day for customers tuning in to TV channels and apps with 17% and 42% growth respectively compared to the eight previous Saturdays.

Virgin Media customers spent 17 million more hours per week – 25 minutes on average per customer each day - watching the news in early lockdown compared to pre-lockdown. In terms of on-demand TV and streaming apps, customers spent 29% more time watching video apps in early lockdown than the pre-lockdown period, with Netflix experiencing a 32% surge in app usage time via the Virgin TV platform during early lockdown. The YouTube app was also accessed by 16% more users and overall viewing time increased by 37%.

Looking at multiscreen, a third more customers turned to the Virgin TV Go on-demand service in early lockdown. Virgin TV Go’s use of live TV has increased 12% increase in May when compared with April.

With millions more people working from home, music and radio channels experienced a 50% increase in demand as customers tuned in to their favourite hits to stay entertained. With the majority of schools closed throughout the country, viewers spent 5 hours more on average during April watching pay-TV kids’ channels such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network compared to February.
All regions across the UK consumed more linear TV during lockdown with an average increase of 39 minutes per viewer day compared to pre-lockdown. Scotland increased their daily viewing of linear channels the most of any region in the UK with 46 minutes longer per day. This was followed by Northern Ireland with 44 minutes per day and London and the North East shared second spot with 42 minutes additional viewing time per day respectively.

The Big Night In from the BBC was the most viewed event over the lockdown months. News, music and radio channels saw huge growth in demand as customers tuned in to stay informed and entertained. Appetite for video on demand programmes and streaming apps also grew significantly, with customers spending 29% longer watching programmes at a time that suits them. Driven by the fast evolving situation and daily media briefings, news channels saw the largest boost in popularity during lockdown.

Overall, pay-TV kids' TV channels saw a 19% increase in viewing time during early lockdown with Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig and Fireman Sam proving popular with younger viewers. When it came to the most popular general entertainment programmes throughout April and May, Britain’s Got Talent; Coronation Street; Gordon, Gino and Fred: American Road Trip and Antiques Roadshow topped the charts.

Yet the return of football to screen was perhaps among the most important content launches, With the return of the Bundesliga in May 2020 , and the Premier League along with other top leagues across Europe more recently, Virgin reported a 64% increase in weekly viewership compared to recent weeks. Borussia Dortmund’s de facto Bundesliga decider against Bayern Munich on Tuesday 26 May was watched by 111% more customers than their previous league fixture on Saturday 11 November.

Manchester City vs Arsenal, which was the second live match of the Premier League’s return on 17 June, saw a 47% increase in viewership compared to the respective matches televised in March 2019 and 2018. In the first week that the Premier League resumed, the sports genre experienced its highest viewership figures in 14 weeks.

“Lockdown has certainly seen a leap in TV viewing across the nation,” said David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer at Virgin Media, commenting on the findings. We’ve supported customers through these difficult months by making more than 50 channels available at no extra cost and launching new, fully-integrated apps so it’s even easier for customers to find, watch and enjoy terrific TV and movies whenever they want.”

This new insight comes after Virgin Media revealed the impact of Covid-19 on customers’ broadband had seen a third more data being downloaded during lockdown.