People in the Denver metro area watched more TV, ordered more video-on-demand and played more video games than many larger U.S. markets over the past month and a half, according to Nielsen data.
Nationally, the top streaming shows belong to Netflix, led by marathon binges of “Ozark,” “Tiger King,” “The Office,” “All American” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Overall, time spent streaming has nearly doubled from the same period in 2019.
You don’t need to be a data analyst to understand why. Ever since city and state stay-at-home orders abruptly arrived with social distancing in mid-March, Denverites’ TV-viewing plus internet-connected device TV usage (as Nielsen calls it) has jumped up to 20% over comparable periods in the previous weeks.
Local TV stations also have become many viewers’ go-to source for information about the coronavirus and COVID-19, reversing a trend that saw sharp declines in local news viewership in recent years. In the top 25 markets, local news experienced a 7% viewership lift between early February and the week of March 9. Among people 25-54, the spike was more than 10%, and 20% for people aged 2-17, Nielsen reported.
In total, the biggest weekly viewing increase across the country — when compared with the same period last year — occurred the week of April 6, Nielsen data showed.
Denver saw its first big jump the week of March 16, making it No. 2 in the U.S. for total TV usage behind Austin, Texas, for the percentage increase over the previous week (21.7%). And the Mile High City was second only to Chicago in a Nielsen report comparing internet-connected device usage gains for the week of March 23, as compared with the week of March 2. Denverites drove a 78% increase.
However, some of that has leveled off, with modest (single-digit) drops in viewership paralleling warmer, drier weather in many parts of the country starting in mid-to-late April — including in Denver.
For example: During the week of April 13, Denver placed fourth among the Top 20 U.S. markets in percentage gains, with a 19% percent jump in viewing over the March 9 period. For the week of April 20, Denver didn’t even make the Top 20.
The data represent the total use of TV, which details live TV-watching, “timeshifting” and video-on-demand, DVDs and Blu-rays, and video-game console usage, plus plugins like Chromecasts, Nielsen said in a press statement.
To be sure, for all its population growth in recent years, the Denver metro area was still only 17th in the country on Nielsen’s DMA (Designed Market Area) chart at the start of the year, with an estimated 1.5 million “TV homes” representing about 1.4% of the U.S. total. Compare that to the top market, New York City, with 6.8 million TV homes (6.3% percent of the United States).
The long-running TV feud between Altitude and Comcast has become a moot point for some viewers, given the lack of new sports programming on television (or anywhere else). Altitude TV was pulled from Comcast when its contract lapsed in late August 2019, The Denver Post has reported. Last week, a Colorado-based federal court ruled that Altitude TV can move forward in its antitrust lawsuit against Comcast.
Nationally, much of the daytime-TV and streaming increases have been driven by kids and teens. Year-over-year percentage increases for these demographics dwarfed those of all other age groups, hitting more than 300% gains at mid-day (12 p.m.), Nielsen said.
“While the magnitude of the percent increases differs by age, the data shows that kids 6-11 are outpacing all other demos for streaming gains, while teens 12-17 give the biggest boost to broadcast TV,” Nielsen wrote.
On mobile devices, the use of social media apps is up 11% since the beginning of the year, while mobile video app usage is up 15% over the same period. Currently, social media occupies most of the share of usage (22.9%) with the next closest app type (mobile video) at 18.6%, Nielsen said.
In the streaming world, Netflix still rules. Netflix subscribers have been collectively streaming about 203 million hours per day during quarantine, or 6.1 billion hours of content in the last month of shutdown, according to a study from killthecablebill.com.
That translates to average Netflix subscribers using about 288 gigabytes of data streaming per month during the shutdown, and all U.S. Netflix subscribers using a total of 527 billion terabytes of data streaming in a month of quarantine, the study reported.
U.S. users of Disney+, the 5-month-old streaming service with about 50 million subscribers, have favored “Frozen” over all others, according to search data from the U.K. company Parkdean Resorts.
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