Samba TV Research Finds Linear is far from Dead as Audiences are Eager for Political and Sports Programming in Q3 2020

Inaugural Quarterly Report Provides State of TV Viewership Amid Historic Q3 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – October 22, 2020 — Samba TV, the leading provider of global TV data and audience analytics, today announced the release of its inaugural State of Viewership Report for 2020. This new quarterly research report provides an overview of television, movie, Connected TV (CTV), and advertising viewership in the U.S. It provides insights on trends and movements of audience consumption in 2020’s unique and historic TV landscape for a quarter that saw the return of live sports as well as the ramp up of political programming.

The Q3 State of Viewership Report is made up of insights from approximately 33 billion hours of TV consumption we projected across millions of households in the U.S., U.K. and Germany in Q3 2020. Samba TV’s report sheds further light on changes in television viewership, such as:

  • 2020 U.S. Election Events Drive Viewership: The third quarter brought some of the biggest political TV events of the year so far with the party conventions, the first debate, and high-profile one-on-one interviews with the president. These key events aimed at informing the public and securing votes, saw key swing states significantly over-index in viewership along with key demographics like white Gen Xers and Boomers.
  • The Return of Live Sports Suffers from Congested Season: After a long drought, American professional sports returned in earnest in late July. As the NBA, MLB, and NHL returned in July, each experienced high tune-in rates across audiences as fans were eager for their teams’ return to their screens. However, these figures were still down compared to their pre-pandemic games. By the end of the quarter, the NFL maintained its lead as the most consistent driver of viewership.
  • The Ebbs and Flows of Cable News Viewership: Throughout the year, cable news has remained one of the most popular viewing options on linear TV. Peaks and valleys corresponded to Americans’ need for information in the early days of the pandemic, followed by declining interest, and then a sudden hunger for news as a nationwide protest movement kicked off in late May and continued through June. The late Q2 surge didn’t last throughout Q3 as Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC all saw lower household tune-in compared with Q2. The political party conventions drew increased interest, but the networks didn’t attract viewers in droves the way they did in the early days of lockdown.
  • Additional insights around movie releases going straight to streaming, CTV’s flattening growth, and linear ad performance between Q2 and Q3 were also included in the report.

“Despite what many have said, linear TV is far from dead,” said Ashwin Navin co-founder and CEO of Samba TV. “Linear TV recovered in Q3, but not at the expense of CTV’s ongoing growth. Both are proving their staying power, bolstered by current events and the incredible diversity and quality of programming available across all platforms. While fragmentation accelerates, data will be the critical tool for marketers to plan their investments across linear and CTV. With our first State of Viewership Report, we aim to arm brands with the key metrics they need to drive higher performance and eliminate media waste in this tumultuous landscape.” 

To view Samba TV’s full State of Viewership Report, click here. For more information, please visit samba.tv.  

About Samba TV

Samba TV enables the next generation TV experience powered by its first-party data, helping viewers engage with relevant media and empowering brand marketers to quantify that engagement. Samba TV’s insights are built on the world’s most comprehensive source of real-time viewership data across broadcast, cable, over-the-top, and digital media. Invented in 2011, Samba TV’s ACR is integrated at the chipset level across 20 of the top Smart TV brands globally (the most in the industry) analyzing the content on screen in real-time, regardless of source. Samba TV delivers unbiased, comprehensive viewership data addressable through more than a billion devices around the world. The world’s leading brands leverage Samba TV to quantify media investments and amplify them across all the screens we use to watch video. For more information, please visit www.samba.tv.