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Out-of-Home Viewing is Helping Boost Linear TV Viewership Amid 24/7 News Cycle

4 minute read | May 2019

Amid the many types of content available to consumers today, news is a media mainstay. Yet despite content fragmentation across devices and platforms, linear TV remains a primary source of news for U.S. adults, and not just in the comfort of their homes. Today, news on linear TV transcends location, as people of all ages and walks of life readily turn to the news everywhere throughout their daily lives (e.g., airports, doctors’ offices, fitness centers, bars, other people’s homes).

To understand where U.S. adults are viewing news OOH (out-of-home) and which dayparts drive high engagement, Nielsen conducted an analysis of OOH news viewing on linear TV among people 18-plus through two surveys: one for the general population and one for Hispanic respondents. The surveys focused on respondents’ OOH viewing of local, broadcast network and cable news programs. Insights from the surveys show that the average reported age of respondents was 38 for the general population and 33 for Hispanics, and at least 40% of respondents from both surveys reported having a college degree. General population respondents reported living in households with an average income of $73,000, compared with $54,000 for Hispanics.

But how does OOH news consumption vary between men and women, and who’s driving the viewing?

Girl Power: Young Women Turn to News When They’re Away From Home to Stay In The Know

News viewing OOH attracts both men and women equally across the 18-plus general population. When we take a closer look at the data, however, we see that more women (56%) 18-24 from the general population survey watch news OOH than men (43%).

But when it comes to looking at the gender split among persons 18-24, the Hispanic survey found that the numbers were even higher for Spanish-dominant Hispanics or those that speak both languages equally, with 70% of women reporting they watched news OOH, compared with 30% of men. The trend was similar for this demographic segment among English-dominant Hispanics with 61% of women having reported watching more news OOH compared to 39% for men.

But where do young adults go to view news OOH, and when are they most likely to tune in?

Where Young Viewers Go to Watch News OOH

Similar to our Summer Sports and Fall Sports analysis, OOH viewers reported than restaurants and bars are among the most popular places to view news OOH. And this pattern continues for OOH news viewing among general population respondents aged 25-34 and 35-plus as 59% and 52% respectively reported viewing in a restaurant or bar. On the other hand, 61% of younger adults aged 18-24 reported viewing in someone else’s home, while 43% reported watching in a restaurant or bar followed by 40% who reported watching at work and 39% at the gym.

Hispanic respondents 25-34, who are Spanish dominant or speak both languages equally, reported restaurant or bar was the top viewing location at 58%, with someone else’s home and at work following at 52% and at the gym at 40%. The habits of OOH news viewing among young adults support the common knowledge that they like to view content in social environments and in a variety of places.

While most of us would consider watching the news at a bar, someone else’s home or even at the gym as doing so during our own time, our survey results found that viewers seek out the news at other times too. In fact, they’re going out of their way to catch the latest headline—even during work hours.

According to the survey, 40% of the general population and 53% of Hispanics, who are Spanish dominant or speak both languages equally, respondents age 18-24 reported watching the news while at work. Although the internet has given consumers the opportunity to get their news on the go, that’s not their only source. Viewers are turning to linear TV out of their homes to catch a glimpse of the news ticker or get the latest weather report before they leave the office.  

As more consumers, particularly young adults, take control of how, where and when to watch content, OOH live news viewing presents advertisers with a great opportunity to be effective with their message and connect with a consumer segment that’s younger and educated.

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