Nielsen study finds lots of people streaming video during work hours

work from home
Nielsen found that news followed by comedy were the two most popular content categories among people who watch while working from home. (Pixabay)

The pandemic has shifted many Americans into work-from-home routines and moved them closer to connected TVs with easy access to streaming video.

Nielsen’s Total Audience Report for August found that 55% of people watch TV or stream content during a break from work at least once a week – 33% said they do so every day. However, 35% of people said they never watch TV or stream content during work breaks.

Nielsen used its survey data on sentiment and its observational panel in combination with a custom Scarborough survey to parse out share of daily time spent on TV and digital between February and April 2020. The measurement firm found that people working from home due to Covid-19 spend a higher percentage of time watching on TV-connected devices – 13% compared to 10% for adults 18 and older.

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While those that worked from home prior to coronavirus spend more time throughout the entire day viewing content, work-from-homers that have done so during COVID-19 spend more time on digital as well as TV-connected devices and have a larger share of viewing to digital sources (57%), according to the report.

Nielsen found that news followed by comedy were the two most popular content categories among people who watch while working from home.

“Daytime television has seen a shift in its usual viewer demographics as a result of COVID-19, as many people who used to be at work now have the TV on at home during their work day. Given the uncertain and rapidly changing times, news is the most popular type of content viewed or streamed. And among that news content local news is king, as quarantine restricts our movement and puts a newfound focus on our immediate surroundings. Unsurprisingly, after getting one’s fill of the events of the day many viewers turn to comedy as a way to escape,” the company wrote in its report.