What are we really doing at home?

| June 10, 2020 | |

Much has been written about Americans spending more time online for work, school and entertainment since the start of social isolating in mid-March. But recent studies have revealed exactly what we’re up to when it comes to using the internet or TV during this COVID-19 pandemic.


NCTA – The Internet & Television Association has been monitoring broadband network usage and reliability since the start of the pandemic. In its latest update, NCTA reports, “Our time spent at home has resulted in significant dramatic increases in the delivery of video streaming traffic and general data demands, as people turn to the internet with increasing frequency as a source of information and entertainment.”

Comcast, Nielsen and others are tracking or have released studies of TV viewing and online behavior spurred by COVID-19.

Some findings:

Viewing behavior habits

  • Weekday and weekend viewing levels and habits are blurring – Monday is now a more popular viewing day than Saturday, Comcast found.
  • Americans are streaming TV content at about twice the levels they were last year, Nielsen reports.
  • Streaming and web video consumption have increased 35% across Comcast’s entire broadband network, in addition to traditional TV viewership increases.
  • The average household is watching more than eight hours more per week than they were in early March, going from approximately 57 hours a week per household to 66 hours, according to Comcast.

What people are viewing

  • Of the 77% of adult broadband users who subscribe to a pay TV service and watch shows and movies with its on-demand feature, 60% report spending more time watching on-demand programming while under stay at home orders, according to a survey by The Diffusion Group.
  • Americans want to stay informed. Cable news networks have had seen ratings records, and network evening national news shows are also drawing larger audience than normal, the New York Times reports.
  • “Comfort viewing” has also become a trend, a CableTV.com survey found. The company created a state-by-state breakdown which determined which shows were most watched during quarantine. Texas was one of 11 states where Friends – the sitcom which first ran from 1994-2004 – topped the viewing list.
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