Local TV, Digital News Sites' Usage Sharply Higher Due To COVID-19

Local TV newscasts and digital news visits have seen a sharp rise in usage in recent days due to issues and interest around COVID-19.

Media measurement company Comscore says there was an 11% rise in viewership for local TV newscasts in the top 25 markets for the week of March 9 versus a similar period the month before for the week ending Feb. 10.

The biggest gains were in Seattle-Tacoma, at 28%; followed by Los Angeles, 19% higher; San Francisco, 18%; Boston, 17%; Dallas-Ft.Worth, 15%; and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, 15%.

Since the crisis began, across eight national TV news networks, Comscore says, there have been 170 specials that were specific to the novel coronavirus, viewed by U.S. TV homes and totaling 18 million hours.

Visits to the 40 top digital news sites climbed 23% to 523 million for the week ending March 15 -- up from 392 million for the week ending March 1. Since the week ending Jan. 12, there have been 30% more visits to digital news sites.

Comscore also says there have been 45.8 million visits to government sites -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the National Institute of Health. This is up 79% for the week ending March 15, and 425% higher since Jan. 12.

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