Right now, more than 96% of all Americans live in states that have imposed stay-at-home orders. Adults are working from home, children are out of school for the remainder of the academic calendar, and Americans in quarantine are consuming news and entertainment on television at levels not seen in over a decade.
What are some of the facts?
According to Comscore’s data for the week of March 16-20, 2020, the first week the U.S. began to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, daytime cable news show viewership was up over 102% and daytime financial cable news show viewership was up 137% from the same week last year.
Daytime viewers of children programming was up 31% in just a week, and overall television usage was up 8% in March from February, during a month when typically more Americans are spending time outdoors and television usage drops.
So, what’s causing this increase in TV viewership?
What we’re seeing isn’t uncommon. Nielsen has found that during natural disasters, like intense snow storms and hurricanes, TV consumption spikes dramatically as individuals are isolated indoors. Even under normal conditions, teleworkers watch three additional hours of TV each week on average than their in-office counterparts.
Despite unlimited access to the internet and plentiful sources of information available digitally, many Americans are choosing to tune into cable right now. Younger generations, including millennials, who typically seek news through social media platforms and other online websites have been consuming television at a rate normally only seen among older Americans.
The reason behind this is psychological – whether they realize it or not, people consider broadcast and cable news to be more reliable and trustworthy sources than their digital counterparts. Especially during a crisis like coronavirus, Americans want the most accurate information possible and TV provides that. There’s comfort and familiarity in watching cable news, too.
Despite the promising effect increased viewership is likely to have on advertising results, many businesses are choosing to pause their broadcast and cable advertising altogether, especially if their products or services are considered “non-essential” under state-issued stay-at-home orders.
On the flipside, this has created a huge opportunity for businesses that are considered “essential” during the pandemic. Home services, in particular, are deemed essential services and can benefit greatly from the boost in television watchers and historically-low advertising rates.
We get it – there’s uncertainty during this crisis, and your gut reaction may be to hunker down and shut off your advertising spend. But even during the pandemic, Americans will still need their A/C fixed, their drains unclogged, and their roofs repaired! And they’ll certainly remember the companies who were there to serve them in a professional and safe manner during this crisis. Discretionary spending may decrease, but essential services are critical for American families and will be the last thing cut from their budgets.
Companies who are able to meet the challenges imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, and survive, will certainly come out stronger than their competitors, have built trust with consumers, and will be one step closer towards dominating their market.
These are testing times for many businesses – and we recognize that supporting our partners will be essential for navigating the next several months. ESB Advertising is ready to meet this moment.
If you are an essential business and would like to learn more about the current TV advertising landscape, we are here to help. Contact us today! ESB is a top advertising and naming agency located in the Washington, D.C. metro area.