Covid-19: US sports fans stay loyal to TV


Staff member

Covid-19: US sports fans stay loyal to TV

| 03 May 2020

In research examining how media is helping Americans cope during the coronavirus pandemic, marketing insights organisation VAB has found that despite having none of their usual programming to watch, viewers have expanded outside their comfort zones exploring new media and discovering the full functionality of their existing devices.

The consumer study, As Time Goes By: How Media Consumption is Helping America Cope, evaluated current consumer media use behaviour, social interactions and how these changing behaviours impact brands. It is based on an online survey from 1–3 April of 1,004 US adults over 18-years of age in households subscribing to cable, telco, internet TV or satellite TV. The respondents covered all age groups, races and ethnic backgrounds.

Perhaps the stand-out regarded sports viewers in the US. Despite the fears of many that they would simply desert their screen in drives with none of the favourite programming available live, US sports fabs sports fans were found to be watching more television, indeede almost three-quarters said that they were watching the same or more TV than before. This migration to other TV programming said VAB was creating opportunities for marketers to continue to reach and engage them in other content.

Those who were replacing their sports TV viewing with news skew male, older, and tend to be more affluent, while younger audiences are more often watching entertainment programming. Four-fifths were choosing television as their primary source for acquiring news during the pandemic compared with other platforms such as social media (50%) and newspapers.

Those who wanted fresh premium video content to supplement their live viewing, consumers have added both ad-supported and subscription services. Nearly two-fifths of consumers (37%) are now watching a free streaming service, such as Pluto TV, Roku or Tubi (pictured). Just over a third (36%) have expanded their media choices by adding a new streaming service as a viewing option.

Looking for ways to deepen their media experience, consumers were also found to be actively exploring new media devices and technology. As many as 84% of respondents over the age of 18 said they have more time currently to watch, listen and read media. Nearly 70% said that they were more open to trying new media (66%), while over half (54%) said that they have learned how to use more features on their smart TV or TV-related devices and platforms.

"With more time on their hands and an increasing reliance on technology, people have expanded outside their comfort zones exploring new media and discovering the full functionality of their existing devices such as their smart TV," said Kathy Grey, SVP research innovation at VAB commenting on the research. "For marketers, this creates an opportunity to connect with audiences in new, unexpected ways."