Interest In COVID Wanes Among TV News Viewers, Now Part Of 'Daily Life'

Some new data from TV audience measurement service Samba TV gives new meaning to the term going viral -- at least when it comes to the reach of cable TV news networks.

The data correlates the reach of cable's Big 3 -- CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC -- with the seven-day moving average of COVID-19 cases between February 1, 2020 and January 4, 2022.

Not surprisingly, it shows a strong correlation between TV news and COVID-19 spikes until the most recent one involving the Omicron variant.

Samba analysts say this indicates that COVID-19 is more permeated into the daily lives of Americans, and may be generating less breaking news interest than spikes did early in the pandemic.

“Two years into the pandemic, we’re seeing that people no longer react to COVID spikes by watching traditional news channels to seek out more information," explains Samba's Meredith Brace, noting: "This could be an indication that COVID has become such a fact of daily life that, while it’s seeing correlated search spikes via Google, it’s not at the level that the average American is tuning in daily to broadcast coverage.
"Of course, COVID continues to permeate daily life for many, however, it’s not uncommon in a sustained news cycle like this that the public begins to utilize other forms of news to stay up-to-date rather than staying glued to broadcast coverage.”



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