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By Charles Dawes

Since the start of 2020 and the rise of what has become a global health and economic crisis, many have turned to their screens for information and comfort.

According to TVision, over-the-top viewing has already doubled.1 In the first three months of the year, Netflix added 2.3 million new subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, and 13.5 million internationally.2 During the same period, traditional broadcast viewing records were broken worldwide. In Spain, the average total TV audience was at its largest ever – just over 10.5 million viewers.3 In Italy, viewers spent nearly 6 hours a day in front of the TV screen – 1 hour 48 minutes more than last year.4 And in China, TV viewing reached 7 hours per day.5

Traditional TV-watching in the U.S. has also demonstrated growth, with a 12.6 percent increase in viewing time since last year and 8.3 million more viewers expected by the end of 2020.6

What programming did people turn to most, and when? Who was watching? We explored the impact of COVID-19 on viewing habits by looking at our own internal viewership data across products and comparing the numbers from the lockdown period (March 27 – May 4) to just 30 days prior.

Click to download TiVo infographic: Rapidly Changing Viewing Habits in the Wake of COVID-19

TiVo Infographic: Rapidly Changing Viewing Habits in the Wake of COVID-19

Stay tuned for more coverage of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on TV habits, plus general viewing trends in our upcoming Video Trends Report. Contact us for more information.


  1. Broadcasting + Cable, “OTT Viewing Doubled Since COVID Lockdown: TVision,” May 1, 2020
  2. The New York Times, “Everyone You Know Just Signed Up for Netflix,” April 21, 2020
  3. Variety, “Spain’s Coronavirus Lockdown Sparks Largest Ever TV Audiences,” March 18, 2020
  4. Auditel/Nielsen via Omdia, “Exploring Opportunities Amid Covid-19,” 2020
  5. NRTA via Omdia, “Exploring Opportunities Amid Covid-19,” 2020
  6. MSN, “TV Viewing to Increase for First Time in Eight Years,” April 2020

Return-path data from TiVo-powered set-top boxes across the U.S. and Canada, consumer surveys and global usage data from our analytics solutions are used to reveal trends across streaming and live TV, helping content providers, pay-TV operators and streaming services keep their audiences engaged and satisfied.

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