Content with a focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest has driven a 23% increase in national and local TV news consumption in September versus the same month a year ago, says Nielsen -- down from the near 50% increase in the second quarter.
Weekly time spent watching TV news content rose to 7 hours/5 minutes in September 2020 versus 5 hours/46 minutes in September 2019. Nielsen defines TV news viewing as all local broadcast/cable, national cable and national broadcast TV.
This equated to a 13% rise in the share of news viewing on TV versus other content among adults 18 and older, with a 35% news viewing share this September versus the same month a year ago.
In the second quarter -- at the peak of the focus on COVID-19 and social unrest in the news cycle -- there was a 48% gain in TV news consumption to 8 hours/34 minutes of news viewing in a week.
Nielsen says that breaking down significant demographics, persons 18-34 posted the biggest gains in the second quarter -- up 134% to 2 hours/11 minutes per week, with persons 25-54 growing 63% to 4 hours/46 minutes.
Far and away the biggest group of viewers remains adults 55 years and older, who consumed a massive 14 hours/43 minutes of TV news per week in the second three months of 2020 -- 37% higher versus the second quarter of 2019.
Weekly time spent on TV news viewing climbed for all platforms, with cable TV news coming in at 3 hours/26 minutes, local TV news at 2 hours/23 minutes and broadcast TV news at 1 hour/16 minutes.
Nielsen says local TV news continues to have the biggest average weekly "reach" for all demographic groups, at 54% of persons 18 years and older. National broadcast TV comes in at 42%, with cable TV at 31%.