Comcast Study Reveals Americans Watching Far More News, Dramas During Coronavirus Outbreak

PHILADELPHIA — Millions of Americans have adopted new routines and changed their habits in response to the coronavirus shutdown. Since people are spending all day at home, it’s no surprise that they’ve been using more of their time to watch TV. To that end, Comcast recently analyzed “TV watching” data to identify how viewing habits of Americans have changed in response to the lockdown.

The average American home has been watching an additional 9 hours of TV per week. Before the shutdown began in mid-March the average household consumed about 57 hours of TV over the span of a week. That number has increased to a whopping 66 hours!

The amount of streaming and web-video consumption has also increased by 35%.

Not only have Americans been watching more TV, but people have been changing when they tune in to the TV. More people are staying up later to catch up on their favorite shows or binge something new. There’s been a 40% increase in the amount of TV being watched between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Researchers also found a slight decrease in the number of people that tune-in during the early hours of the morning. Since people don’t need to commute, they can sleep in a little longer — resulting in a 6% decrease in the amount of programming watched between 6 and 8 a.m.

In addition to the change in time of day people are watching TV, many Americans have altered their weekday vs weekend streaming habits. Before the lockdown there were clear differences between the amount and type of content people watch on the weekdays and the weekend. Not surprisingly, more TV was being consumed on the weekends, and Americans were more likely to take a break from their regular TV shows and watch something on-demand or rent a movie. Now, the days seem to be blurring together as weekday viewing habits are becoming more like their weekend viewing for the average household.

In fact, Monday has actually been a more popular day to watch TV than Saturday!

Of course, many Americans want to keep up-to-date on COVID-19 related news, certainly reflected by the 64% increase in the amount of news being watched. News consumption hit its peak the week of March 30th, the same week the number of worldwide coronavirus cases topped one million.


Besides for the increase in the amount of news being watched, people’s viewing tastes haven’t changed much during the crisis. You might think that people would want to tune-in to something cheerful to lift their spirits during these trying times. On the contrary, people have actually increased the amount of drama shows they watch from 27% to 30%.

The last thing the analysis shows is that people are looking for something new to watch. There has been a 50% increase in the amount of “video on demand” being watched. People are also being adventurous and using the voice commands on their TV like “what to watch” and “surprise me” to find the next show to watch.

Hopefully our TV habits will become healthier once the shutdown ends. Till then, stream on.

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