COVID-19 and Civil Unrest: Fuel For Local TV News In 2021?


From a news perspective, 2020 was a year like no other.

And, as Americans settle into the prospect of a fresh start in 2021, a divided nation still living in a pandemic continues to elevate the importance of news, particularly at the local level.

For Nielsen, it’s clear that consumers’ on-demand lifestyles are having an effect on leisure time video viewing, but the unsettled population in the U.S. has elevated the importance of news to consumers across the country looking to stay informed about everything from social unrest to the presidential election to the protests and riots at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Linear TV viewing is at a crossroads, given the shift away from scheduled, appointment viewing on TV, but consumers are voracious when it comes to wanting to stay informed,” says Justin LaPorte, VP of Local Audience Insights at Nielsen. “That elevates the opportunity for news programming across local, national and cable.”

LaPorte shared the details at a presentation given Tuesday at the NATPE virtual conference, based on fresh Nielsen Insights data.

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