Live TV viewing needs a new definition and context.
First the good news: Streaming and on-demand TV has been rising, due to more shut-in consumers. So has live TV, a laggard in recent years.
Live viewing -- even without sports programming -- has climbed in the U.S. over the last several weeks, 2% higher, says Nielsen. In large part, it is due to news consumption, local and otherwise, and entertainment programming.
Live viewing of daytime non-news programs -- syndicated talk shows, entertainment magazines, court programs, and other content has seen an uptick, too.
CBS says its daytime network show “The Price is Right” has scored the highest viewing in four years. For the week of March 30-April 3, 2020, the show averaged 6.1 million viewers.
That said, live viewing isn’t up everywhere, on all platforms. Conviva, a video analytics/optimization company, says in Europe, live streaming is down 30% overall (March 22-28) in viewing hours versus March 8-14. This is true even though European TV news content is up 130%.
Like in the U.S., European countries have been similarly affected by COVID-19.
Most European live viewing goes to sports content, which typically accounts for a 30% share. During the month, as COVID-19 concerns rose, streaming sports viewing hours were down 91%.
Streaming on-demand programming -- free or subscription -- is up 41% in Europe, in terms of percentage changes in viewing hours. News programming in Europe was 76% higher for March 8-14; 138% (March 15-21); 132% (March 22-28). Live sports is absent from the screen.
Bottom line is that even with lower live TV viewing, overall TV viewing -- on demand and otherwise -- is 9% higher in Europe.
Now back to the U.S. Many of the 500 premium U.S. scripted TV shows have stopped production. That means those shows -- which are part of the overall pool of live TV viewing -- are yielding sharply lower video impressions for TV marketers to buy. This is not helped by lower consumer demand for products and services.
From all of this, do we need to redefine what premium and live TV programming is, at least in the short term?