Daytime the second primetime for total US TV consumption | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns has created a new normal of remote working for professionals across the globe but it has also set a new normal for TV consumption especially for streaming services during what is traditionally seen as the working day says new research from Nielsen.
NIelsen daytime 2Dec2020
Putting a stake into the ground, the measurement and analysis firm said that when the pandemic set in early this year, it knew that video consumption, particularly TV usage, would spike. Yet it also expected consumption to gradually return to seasonal averages. Nielsen conceded that seeing that consumption rise and then normalise during the workday, however, was somewhat unexpected, particularly among remote professionals and managers. But that is it said the new media consumption reality.

The analyst also noted its research in August, showing that how consumers in the US were still adjusting to working remotely, an adjustment complementing workdays with video content. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they watched TV or streamed video content during their work breaks. In other cases, video had become a work companion, as 56% of respondents said they watched TV or streamed video content with sound while they were actively working.

Nine months into the pandemic, Nielsen research has shown that daytime has become a second primetime for total TV consumption among many former office professionals and managers. On average, these workers have increased their total TV time - through live, time-shifted, internet-connected device, game console - by 21% between 09:00 and 16:00 in October 2020. Among professionals, that increase equates to 26 additional minutes per day.

During a typical work week - 09:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday - professionals were found to be engaging with TV two hours and 10 minutes more than they were a year ago. Importantly, the uptick in daytime consumption has not negatively affected evening viewing. In fact, these same viewers increased their usage between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. as well.

While overall media usage in the US did normalise following the peaks brought on by the initial shelter-in-place restrictions, the strength of the streaming market and consumers’ appetite for content has forever tipped the share of consumption—a trend that has very much materialised during the workday—and not just among remote workers.

Nielsen found that daytime internet-connected device usage increased by significant double-digits among all age groups and all worker/non-worker groups. Among professionals, increased internet-connected device tracks throughout the day, whereas engagement among kids increased in more of a bell shape, with the biggest increases appearing around lunchtime. That bell curve, however, includes some hefty increases in total TV usage during typical school hours: 50 minutes per week among kids 2-5; 3 hours 25 minutes among kids 6-11; and two hours among kids 12-17.

The analyst regards the implicationsof the shifting behaviour for networks, advertisers and agencies are significant for two primary reasons: engagement timing and audience spending power.

Given the time to reach those audiences is different than it was back in January, Nielsen said that content creators, networks and marketers should be actively thinking about making adjustments to ensure that their efforts are seen and heard when engagement is high. Additionally, given the economic implications of the pandemic, not all consumers have the financial wherewithal to spend freely. Across consumer groups, professionals and managers are more likely to be insulated to some degree, and they typically live in higher-earning households than non-professionals.

In all, and looking at the findings through a media lens, Nielsen said that Americans who have been working from home for the bulk of 2020 have had more than enough time to settle into their new TV usage routines. In looking at the rise in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, as well as the new restrictions being put in place in various metro areas across the country, networks, programmers and advertisers should be maximising the increased exposure that key audiences have throughout the day with the TV glass. Nielsen expects the established new routines of consumers, the colder winter months and increased movement restrictions will further solidify daytime TV as a true work companion.