The world is focused on numbers, trends, graphs and charts following the spread of COVID-19 in Canada and worldwide. But beyond infection rates, the ensuing shutdowns have also had profound effects on television production, advertising budgets and media consumption.

We looked at the slumps, spikes and surprises in Canadian media data and asked buyers to weigh in on how to make sense – when every cent counts – of the numbers as an advertiser.

Numeris data has shown that while Canadians initially upped their consumption of TV news in the first two weeks of the pandemic, as the lockdowns went on, viewership share went back to scripted and entertainment shows, although news has maintained healthy audiences. Is this a sign that Canadians are looking for more escapist content? If brands are investing right now, what are some feel-good programs they can get behind?

Dan Zangrando, VP of investments, UM: Increased viewership of scripted shows can be considered escapist, but the fact that news has maintained healthy audiences suggests that viewers are trying to strike a balance between staying informed and keeping themselves entertained to feel a sense of normalcy. A recent Angus Reid study found that over 65% of Canadians felt that their communities were getting better. This marks a significant increase from even just the week prior and that mentality is inherently going to influence people’s viewing habits.

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