Jun 9, 2020

Traditional TV is Growing Amongst the Younger Generations during COVID-19 Lockdown

Author: Deep Root Analytics

Has television consumption changed as the country is spending more time at home? Our team at Deep Root, an audience-powered analytics company, was curious about how viewership patterns have shifted in the last few months, and how those findings could be applied to help our clients refine their television targeting.

To answer this question, Deep Root gathered data regarding active television viewers using data provided to us by TiVo and matched with demographic data via a third-party partner. From here, we were able to draw conclusions by comparing the television consumption of the TiVo households in March 2019 to their consumption in March 2020. Our research highlighted that more people are watching linear television, with some of the biggest shifts happening with younger viewers.

“Deep Root’s analysis brings forth an important insight that younger viewers are watching both more linear TV and streaming more video during COVID-19,” says Walt Horstman, SVP of TiVo’s Data and Advertising group.  “We are pleased that our national footprint of second-by-second TV data, in conjunction with Deep Root, can help marketers understand the complexity of video consumption to reach their audiences most effectively across platforms.”

It has been widely reported that time spent on streaming platforms has also increased significantly since the implementation of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Our new findings regarding an increase in linear television viewership among younger generations illustrates that overall video consumption has increased during this time, and that audiences are actively viewing across platforms. The surge of media consumption across multiple platforms, including linear television, reinforces the importance of audience based advertising for corporations and campaigns alike.

With Deep Root, advertisers can harmonize audience advertising across all major platforms, utilizing our media consumption data to reach those more likely to consume media across mediums, including linear TV, addressable, OTT, CTV, digital and offline.

Key Findings:

  • 56% of Millennial and Gen-Z households in our sample watched more television in the last week of March 2020 than they did in the first week. The median household under 40 watched more linear television as March 2020 progressed.
  • Millennial and Gen-Z households with higher incomes watched more television in March 2020 than in March 2019.
  • Millennial and Gen-Z households who tuned in more often in March 2020 skewed significantly more educated.
  • These gains were more significant among mid-sized cities in the South and Midwest than the rural areas in the South and Midwest.


Our analysis shows that the median Millennial/Gen-Z household watched more television as the month of March 2020 continued, likely reflecting the growing premium on live news as the epidemic unfolded. Given the growth of streaming options accessible to this group as well as more people utilizing these options, this increase in linear television viewership is significant. This is remarkable amidst professional and college sports suspending their seasons by mid-March, which are often a large driver in the increase of people watching linear TV.

It is worth reiterating again, the shift doesn’t appear to have come at the expense of streaming video, which is serving record volumes of content. Rather, younger consumers appear to be adding traditional television to their video content diet.


It is still unclear how the pandemic and resulting lockdowns might change how linear television is consumed in the United States. However, what these results do make clear is that the landscape can change at any time, and by forgoing television advertising, brands lose the opportunity for the type of scaled impact that only TV can provide. If you would like to view the full results of this analysis, please click here. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing people to spend more time consuming content across all media platforms. Whether it is linear television or digital streaming options, the focus should be on the audience you are speaking to in order to maximize impact. We’ve seen drastic changes in media consumption habits since stay-at-home orders were issued across the states, and focusing on hitting audiences – regardless of how they are viewing – can help you navigate this rapidly changing landscape.

If you would like to learn more about how Deep Root can help you optimize your budget and reach your intended audiences across the multi-platform media ecosystem, please contact Brian Rose, Deep Root’s Senior Director of Business Development at [email protected]. To learn more about TiVo and its TV viewership data products, please contact [email protected].