TV breaks are the new coffee breaks.
Some Americans are watching more television during their workdays now that the coronavirus has forced them to hunker down in their home offices, a new survey shows.
The amount of time professionals spent in front of their TVs during the weekday hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. jumped by 21 percent on average, or 26 minutes a day, in October compared to last year thanks to the pandemic-fueled boom in remote work, market-research firm Nielsen found.
That means onetime office denizens have their sets on for two hours and 10 minutes longer during the typical workweek than they did a year ago, the survey released Tuesday says. That includes time spent watching live and delayed TV shows, streaming videos and playing video game consoles.
“After living in a pandemic for nine months, daytime has become a second primetime for total TV consumption among many former office professionals and managers,” Nielsen said.
The firm said its research has also shown that TV has become a “work companion” for many consumers — 65 percent of those surveyed earlier this year said they watched shows or streamed video during breaks, and about half said they kept their screens on while actively working.
They should also be aware of the economic differences between viewers — non-professional workers and unemployed people have largely decreased their daytime TV use despite the uptick among professionals, who typically live in higher-earning households, Nielsen says.
Nielsen researchers say advertisers and networks should get smart about the shift in two ways. For one, they should think about making adjustments to reach consumers at the times when they’re most engaged with TV, according to the firm.
Kids also ramped up their daytime viewing as many attended school remotely during the pandemic, according to Nielsen. Total TV usage between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. jumped 41 percent among 12-to-17-year-olds and 56 percent among 6-to-11-year-olds in October, the survey found.