Viewership at a glance: Q2'21 State of Viewership + Olympics analysis
Content Marketing Manager
Aug 23, 2021
We’ve been busy this past month releasing not one but two in-depth reports on global TV viewership. For our quarterly State of Viewership Report, we analyzed over 33 billion hours of global live and streaming content to see how viewership fared during Q2 2021 and how shifting TV habits compared pre- and mid-pandemic. And, later, with the Tokyo Olympics on the global stage, we analyzed data from July 23rd to August 8th to see how the world was watching.
Read on for some of our takeaways from both reports, and download the full versions for a closer look at the trends and additional insights.
Live TV viewership declines in Q2, but is still up from pre-pandemic levels.
Less live TV is being consumed than the same time last year, but we’re still watching more live TV than we were before the pandemic. Compared to Q2 2020 (the early days of shelter-in-place), the average daily percentage of U.S. households watching live TV a year later in Q2 2021 was on the decline by 19%. Just about 43% of U.S. households watched live TV on average per day throughout the quarter – down 53% from the same period last year.
Similarly, when looking internationally at the U.K., Germany, and Australia, average daily linear household reach was up across all three in Q2 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic levels in Q2 2019, but have declined from when the world was collectively in lockdown in Q2 2020.
The travel ad category makes strides in 2021 as pandemic restrictions ease.
In the U.S., Life & Entertainment remained the category with the largest volume of linear ad impressions in Q2 2021 – although it experienced a 42% decline in impressions compared to Q2 2020.
On the other hand, the Travel ad category has been on a continuous uptick compared to Q2 2020 and the beginning of the U.S.’s shelter-in-place restrictions, with a 282% increase in impressions. And, as pandemic restrictions ease, it’s no wonder that this category saw a 59% increase in impressions in Q2 2021 compared to Q1 2021.
In the U.K., Life & Entertainment remains the ad category with the largest volume of linear ad impressions – although it has declined 37% compared to the same time last year.
When it comes to advertisers, across the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Australia, the top three with the most linear ad impression volume in Q2 2021 were TV networks. After that, there’s a greater variance between the top 10 in each market. McDonald’s notably was the only brand to make the top 10 in more than one market, coming in at number four in Australia and number eight in the U.K.
With the direct-to-streaming day-and-date release distribution model becoming the norm during the pandemic, and continuing as restrictions ease, the question has become how do these movie releases fare following their first month streaming?
Our data shows that many of the films released in Q1 2021 saw continued increases in new U.S. households tuning in during Q2. For example, Zack Snyder’s Justice League (along with its Justice is Gray version) saw the highest combined viewership in months two and three with 696k new households watching the movie in either format. We’ve been busy this past month releasing not one but two in-depth reports on global TV viewership. For our quarterly State of Viewership Report, we analyzed over 33 billion hours of global live and streaming content to see how viewership fared during Q2 2021 and how shifting TV habits compared pre- and mid-pandemic. And, later, with the Tokyo Olympics on the global stage, we analyzed data from July 23rd to August 8th to see how the world was watching.
And while HBO Max has a standard 31-day distribution window for day-and-date releases, many of the platforms movies saw steady continued viewership once the movies left the platform and were released via video-on-demand (VOD) – including Judas and the Black Messiah, as well as Godzilla vs. Kong.
When it comes to streaming series, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a big win for Disney Plus, driving strong viewership internationally for WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki.
To dive deeper into viewership data of the quarter’s biggest streaming releases - from a longer look at how U.S. households consumed day-and-date releases to a comparison of the MCU series across the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Australia - get our full State of Viewership report here.
Insights into the 2020 Summer Olympics
After a year of postponement, Tokyo hosted the 2020 Summer Olympics in 2021 with the world watching. But how did viewership stack up? We analyzed our data to bring you the viewership trends from the Summer Olympics.
Which networks saw the most household reach?
In the U.S., live coverage of the games aired exclusively across a variety of NBCUniversal channels, including USA Network, CNBC, NBC Sports Network, and Telemundo, but it was NBC that had the most reach throughout the Olympics, with its strongest viewership during the weekends. However, household reach began to decline after the second weekend (July 31st to August 1st), despite Saturday, August 7th, being the biggest day of gold wins for the U.S.
Comparably, throughout this year’s 17 days of Olympic coverage, household reach across the U.K., Germany, and Australia fluctuated day by day, with Sundays typically seeing more households watching.
What else were people watching?
While the Olympics drove big viewership, it wasn’t the only thing on. What were households around the world tuning into when they weren’t watching the action in Tokyo?
On the same day as the Opening Ceremony, game shows and reality TV were big wins in the U.S. and U.K.. The former saw The Price is Right and Shark Tank taking the top spots, while in the U.K., Celebrity Gogglebox, The Chase, and Love Island all cracked the top five.
In Germany and Australia, sports took center stage – even when it wasn’t the Olympics. German and Australian households both watched football in high numbers.
Want to dig in even further? Download the full Olympics report for a more granular look at household reach and viewership by region, along with insights into demographics, viewership from heavy vs. light sports fans, and what defectors watched instead.