TV Networks Report an Increase in Actual Live Viewership Amid Coronavirus Social Distancing

Paste magazine originally published this article on March 19, 2020.

Despite a proliferation of series postponements and live sports cancellations, social distancing has had at least one benefit for TV networks. With Daylight Savings Time beginning on March 8 and the approach of spring weather, this time of year typically reports a decrease in live TV ratings as viewers like to stay outside longer. But that isn’t the case this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, as Deadline reports.

Even with an over-saturation of streaming services, the number of total live TV viewers increased each night last week. And so far, there’s no indication that viewers are slowing down. Across the board, both late-night and daytime viewing has reported an uptick.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the top five most-watched shows for the week of March 9-15 were: NCIS with 10.76 million, followed by 60 Minutes with 10.44 million, the Democratic Presidential Debate with 9.9 million, Young Sheldon with 8.89 million and The Voice with 8.74 million. The Bachelor came in 6th place with 8.55 million viewers, and Trump’s address to the nation came in at 15th with 6.57 million.

Looking at Nielsen data examining TV usage during times of crisis in the U.S., TechCrunch reports that total TV viewing (including live TV plus streaming) could see an increase of as much as 60% as viewers are forced to stay at home.

Read Paste’s list of the best TV shows to binge watch and the many movies and TV series that have halted production due to the coronavirus.

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