lockdown viewing

The impact of lockdown on TV viewing

“People are spending much longer in front of TV sets,” Justin Sampson, CEO of ratings body Barb, told an RTS Zoom event in early June.

During the first nine weeks of the lockdown, people spent an average of 5 hours 7 minutes in front of the box, 33% more than during the equivalent period in 2019. These are “the kind of levels you’d normally see at Christmas”, said Sampson.

Viewing of Barb-reported channels – which doesn’t include unidentified viewing: the SVoDs such as Netflix; gaming; YouTube; or overseas satellite channels – has risen by 18%.

Lockdown Viewing

Viewing figures show that lockdown has had a dramatic impact on what we watch with trends varying significantly by demographic. So, what’s been working and why? And to what extent will new behaviours persist post lockdown? How will broadcasters sustain their resurgence in an age of streaming? And what lessons can be learnt from this unique period in our history to shore up the future of UK broadcasting longer term?


Justin Sampson, CEO, BARB