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Millennials Flocking to Local TV News During Coronavirus

(Image credit: WABC)

NEW YORK—The coronavirus (COVID-19) has dramatically altered people’s daily lives as well as their viewing habits, as indicated by a new report from TVB, particularly among millennials (ages 18-34).

TVB’s “Broadcast TV Viewership During Coronavirus” looks at TV viewership for seven broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CW, Telemundo and Univision) in 25 LPM markets for the first two weeks of March in 2020—when the coronavirus hit the U.S. in earnest—and compared it to the same time period in 2019. Overall, TVB found that TV viewership has increased in 2020 over the same period in 2019, even as live sports are not available.

Millennials, who are often cited as the age group most often leaving traditional broadcast for streaming options, were big drivers on this surge. Local news programming is among the biggest draws for millennials. Among those aged 18-34, local news airing Monday to Friday at anytime during the first week of March 2020 saw a 52% increase in live viewing compared to 2019, and then the second week was up 83%. The Live+1 viewing numbers were nearly identical—52% for week one, 84% for week two.

The evening news is the most popular time to watch the news for millennials. More than half of the views for all local news came from evening news programs in week one and week two, for live and live+1. The second week of March in 2020 saw a 106% increase in viewership of millennials for evening news in both live and live+1 measurements.

(Image credit: TVB)

Local broadcast TV news has also garnered the trust of millennial viewers, with 71% saying they trust what they hear on those TV broadcasts; network broadcast news comes in at 61%, cable news channels at 53%. Local TV news also is the most trusted digital source for millennials with 61%, just ahead of national/local newspapers’ digital presence (60%).

More information on the study can be found on TVB’s website.