Since We Can't Get Out Like We Used To, Are We Watching TV Instead?

Matt Collins

SVP, Marketing

A notable impact of social distancing mandates is the vanishing of many entertainment options we typically enjoy with our free time. Access to bars, restaurants, clubs, museums, theaters, stadiums and arenas has been curtailed. Television remains one of the options that remains, so we wanted to see if people are watching TV when they might otherwise have been having fun away from home.

In this analysis, we compare the share of viewing each daypart got in 2020 versus 2019 for the months of March, April and May. The viewing data used is for the audience Adults 18+. We’re looking for an increase in viewing during dayparts that we would expect to compete most heavily with other forms of entertainment, such as live sporting events, concerts, and more.

Share of daypart viewing comparison 2019 vs. 2020

For March and April, we find that Daytime viewing increased the most among all dayparts in 2020. This is likely due to the fact that many people were required to spend much more time at home during these months, resulting in more time spent watching TV during the day.

For May, however, this trend changed: while almost all dayparts remained relatively the same in terms of share, year-over-year, we find that Weekend registered a significant viewing increase in 2020. Compared to 2019, in just the month of May 2020, 7 billion more impressions were delivered against A18+ during the Weekend daypart.

This is likely due to the fact that fewer people are venturing away from home during the weekend, even as the weather improves, perhaps because they cannot enjoy many of the leisure activities that they did last year at this time. On the other hand, television is available, and people are watching.

Simulmedia’s platform helps advertisers take advantage of these trends. It has a patented, composite forecasting model that predicts who will be watching what programs and when. Its base takes into account the past 10 weeks of viewing data. But it also takes into account other factors, including seasonality, premier/finale content, and more. It uses these additional inputs to adjust the base model.

This means that Simulmedia’s software takes these viewing changes into consideration at all times. That way, it’s always able to identify, plan, and order the most efficient and performant advertising inventory for our clients. It’s just one way that Simulmedia is revolutionizing the way TV advertising gets done.

For our latest weekly updates on changes in TV viewing, check out our latest on Observable here.

About Simulmedia

We are Simulmedia, a NY-based platform that helps marketers use TV advertising to create more customers. Simulmedia is the only end-to-end TV ad platform that can deliver scaled performance across national linear TV with the speed and precision of digital.

Have Questions?

We’re sifting through changes in TV viewing with the most recent data available and want to make sure you’re getting the answers you need. What did you find most valuable? What other information would you like to see? Email us at marketing@simulmedia.com to let us know how we can make these weekly updates as useful as possible.

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