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Impact of COVID-19 on TV viewing

Jo Loup Apr 27, 2021 1:15:00 PM
TV viewing

Unsurprisingly TV viewing in Canada has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  At the beginning of the initial lock down it grew for a number of reasons. A need for news updates on the pandemic along with increased availability to view with more people at home meant that average hours viewed per week increased by 3.5 hours compared to the annual average.

TV viewing stayed strong for around 6 weeks. In the period that followed various factors led to a drop in the time spent viewing; the lack of live sport content meant viewing to the sports channels took a significant hit, the appetite for constant news updates began to wane with the reach of the news stations returning to pre-lock down levels. On top of this, many shows came to the end of their Winter/Spring season and the lull in summertime programming took hold.

On August 1st NHL coverage returned helping to lift the average viewing hours for Canadians by over an hour compared to the previous week. Viewing levels continued to increase as the new TV premieres launched in September. TV viewing was again boosted in November thanks to the US election coverage with Canadians watching an average of 2 hours more TV that week than the week prior. TV viewing again grew in January with Canadian viewing to US specialty news stations remaining strong.


A few other points to note:

  • Total TV viewing for Ind2+ in the first quarter on 2021 has declined slightly in February and March similar to the pattern in 2019.
  • Total viewing in January this year was slightly higher than January 2020 for Ind2+ driven by a 50% increase in viewing to US Specialty stations. Viewing to CNN in particular was over 2.5 times higher in January 2021 than it was a year prior.
  • With the return of live hockey monthly reach to Sportsnet National has been gradually climbing for A25-54 since January.
  • The % of live viewing in prime time for conventional stations has reverted to 75% for Ind2+ (the same as Q1 last year) whereas it peaked at 85% during Jul-Sep 2020.
  • In terms of programming, the Super Bowl is the top rated program (with an AMA of 6.1 million Ind2+ on CTV Com) not just of 2021 but of the past year since April 2020. However, the interview with Megan & Harry is a close 2nd!
  • Bye Bye 2020, which aired on SRC during New Year’s Eve achieved a staggering rating of 62.5 with Ind2+ in Quebec Franco.

Clients with TV PPM subscriptions can access the full dashboard, generated using Conex, either through Lens or the home page of InfoSys+TV PPM.



Click here to watch our recent webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on TV viewing and advertising.