But where does it go for here, especially with President Biden? Perhaps with less drama and incendiary tweets, but the pandemic has yet to recede.
In November 2020, 43.5% of 13.1 billion live gross impressions went to TV news content -- well above the 30.5% level in November 2019, according to Nielsen.
Higher TV news usage had helped during their period: Delays in new fall season prime-time programming and a weakened sports TV marketplace, all due to the pandemic.
Prime-time programming pulled in a low 18.8% share; sports, a 17.1% share during the month. A year before, it was 23.5% and 23.6%, respectively.
TV news content actually had an even higher share in April 2020, the first full month of COVID-19 and U.S. economic turmoil -- a 45.1% share of total live gross impressions for the month, 14.3 billion.
One thing we know will continue to grow: Streaming programming/on-demand entertainment content.
Linear TV entertainment stuff? The prospects aren't good, especially when streamers such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+ are poised to continue to spend billions on content. This would also now include theatrically intended movies and more premium films overall.
Linear TV networks’ entertainment, unscripted and scripted programming, will still be around. But for many, it may be seens as secondary, almost shoulder-like programming.
Local news content continues to be strong -- especially where some political/social unrest looks to increase.
There will still be remnant Trump news around for sure -- if not from Trump rallies and lesser social-media missives, than from a number of state and other court cases headed his way.
All that means more importance and value when it comes to local TV stations producing news content.
Nielsen notes, for example, that on Jan. 6, during the U.S. Capitol insurrection, person-level live program plus time-shifted viewing rivaled Jan. 3, 2021, the final Sunday of the regular NFL season -- typically a big day for the sports league. Both January 6 and January 3 took in top numbers relative to other periods: 26% of U.S. TV viewers and older watched TV on both days.
U.S. TV viewers also love their streaming shows -- Disney+ “The Mandalorian,” Netflix’s “The Crown” and others -- but they might want to stay highly informed, as they have for the past four years.
If anything, the last few weeks have put us on notice: We can’t just gaze into space avoiding real-world news or sit on the sidelines. There are consequences.