Covid-19 crisis sees big jump in TV audiences

Ninety per cent of adults watched ‘TV yesterday’, one third more than subscription TV, GroupM Ireland reports. With the rise in isolation as the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic intensifies, AV formats increased as people look to keep up with the latest news or win respite from developments as the crisis develops by keeping themselves entertained.

Subscription TV, with platforms like Netflix and Amazon, have seen the biggest growth compared to normal viewing levels. GroupM says it was an opportune time – albeit not planned, for Disney+ to launch as audiences watching subscription TV increases by 53 per cent. Instagram and Snapchat are up by 45 per cent and 42 per cent respectively.

Instagram has shown the versatility of its platform with something for everyone, from teachers live-streaming lessons to charity concerts, home work-outs and fitness challenges. Information and misinformation are rife at times of crisis. There is no surprise that much of this has played out on messaging platforms like WhatsApp.

The usage is surging as people ensure they remain virtually connected to family and friends, using old and new technologies. Facebook Messenger has achieved the highest level of reach since the GroupM tracker began in 2016. News is more important for everyone right now, with online busy and print news consumption up by 13 per cent.

Fieldwork for the study was conducted between March 19-23 2000.

Eimear McGrath (pictured), research director, Mindshare, said the sample was made up of 1,003 adults, representative of age, gender, region and socio-economic status. Fieldwork was conducted online while most people were minimising social contacts, with 68 per cent of respondents working from home, child minding at home or just staying at home.


While radio listenership has not increased, the level of trust in it as an advertising channel is up – something fundamental for advertising at this time. Music streaming has soared by 72 per cent as new routines allow for more curated listening. Spotify has observed an increase in cooking and housework playlists, as well as children’s music.

Unsurprisingly, this runs at a tangent from music intended for group celebrations and work. People are not only turning to music on demand – just over one in five have been listening to podcasts, up by half on normal activity. Entertainment is vital during social distancing with console and mobile gaming proving highly popular with stay-at-homes.

GroupM Ireland comprises Mindshare, MediaCom and Wavemaker media agencies.

RTÉ has reported that live streaming on the RTÉ Player is up by over 350 per cent on the same time last year, reflecting a wider interest in news and current affairs. The national broadcaster has launched a third season of Explained by Prime Time with a focus on Covid-19. Sky’s Now TV video on demand service reported a major lift in sign-ups last week.

Irish homes are playing catch-up with shows like The Sopranos (above) on Now TV.

Traffic to websites is up by 49 per cent, IAB Ireland reports.

The average increase in unique users since the Covid-19 crisis began jumped by 49 per cent and whole page views increased by 35 per cent. Given the nature of the content, dwell times were up by 23 per cent. IAB Ireland is supporting its members – many of whom are working from home – with the roll out of a series of ‘virtual’ training workshops.

IAB Ireland members include Communicorp Media, DMG Media Ireland, INM, Image, Lovin Media Group, News Ireland, Packed House, Reach, The Irish Times and


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