Chicago is hardly the Second City when it comes to streaming. Also, who needs primetime when there’s now the 2 PM time slot? Those are a couple of the takeaways from a new, market-by-market look by Nielsen at COVID-19 viewership trends.
Of all markets with non-linear viewing on Internet-connected devices or smart TVs, Chicago registered the biggest jump in usage from the first week of March to the last, rising 12 slots to No. 5. (See detailed numbers below.) Different parts of the country experienced the virus-related lockdowns differently, but the second week of March was when the NBA and other sports were suspended, many schools were canceled and theaters and other public spaces started closing. Denver, New York and Portland, OR, also saw huge spikes in streaming. Orlando, Milwaukee and Norfolk, VA, maintained their already healthy levels of streaming.
With work and school taking place at home for millions of Americans, Nielsen’s report reaffirmed that primetime viewing remains the most robust of any daypart. But over the course of March, the most significant gains came in the early afternoon hours. Historically, with increases in streaming of more than 50% for each hour between 1-4 PM.
Regardless of whether markets are measured with local people meters or set meters (two distinct methods deployed by Nielsen, which create certain innate differences in the resulting data), overall streaming by adults has skyrocketed. Via each method, on a year-over-year basis, the total has risen more than 100%, reflecting an influx of new streaming outlets like Disney+ as well as the shelter-in-place moment.
Here are select charts from the Nielsen report:
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