TV Ad Times are Changing Due to Daytime TV Viewing Habits

BY Rachel Cagle
Featured image for “TV Ad Times are Changing Due to Daytime TV Viewing Habits”

At this point, we are all aware that TV consumption has risen since the pandemic began earlier this year. What is surprising is that the increased viewing time isn’t happening after work hours. Weekday daytime TV viewing has become the new norm for Americans. While this isn’t great news for those employees’ bosses, it does  give a leg up to TV advertisers who are in the know.

Daytime TV Viewing Habits

Now, you first thought was probably, “This is only because of how drastically the unemployment rates have gone up this year.” That fact doesn’t have anything to do with the increase in daytime TV viewing, according to data from Nielsen. Working professionals are the consumers with year-​over-​year increases in weekday daytime TV viewership. The percentage of those not in the workforce watching TV during work hours actually dropped year-over-year.

According to Nielsen, “65% of respondents in a Nielsen Remote Workers survey said they watched TV or streamed video content during their work breaks. In other cases, video became a work companion, as 56% of respondents said they watched TV or streamed video content with sound (50% did so without sound) while they were actively working.”

Viewing Times

The most popular times during the week for professionals to watch daytime TV are:

  • Noon: 26% increase from October 2019 to October 2020
  • 1 p.m.: 25% increase
  • 2 p.m.: 23% increase
  • 3 p.m.: 22% increase
  • 11 a.m.: 21% increase

The daytime TV viewing percentages only decrease as the workday ends, dropping to an 11% increase year-​over-​year and below every hour after 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next day. While the increased percentages between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. are lower than those during the workday, don’t forget that they are still higher than last year.

Overall, daytime TV viewing among working professionals increased by 26 minutes every day over October 2019. That means that these consumers are watching an increase of two hours and 10 minutes every week during work hours.


The increase in daytime TV viewing among working professionals rose in the realms of live and time-​shifted programming, as well as via internet-​connected devices and game consoles. In particular, viewing on internet-​connected devices has experienced double-​digit growth across both employed and unemployed Americans of all ages. According to Nielsen, “Among professionals, increased internet-​connected device tracks throughout the day.”


Your TV advertising clients are hoping that consumers with spending power are seeing their commercials, right? If they’re still placing most of their ads during evening or late night programming, they’re missing out on their target audience. Instead, your clients need to focus on placing their ads during daytime TV viewing hours.

According to AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel, the programming Heavy Television Watchers are likely tuning into is varied. 62% prefer to watch movies on TV, while 50.4% enjoy comedies and 49.8% like dramas. Another 39.1% like police/​detective/​mystery TV programs, and they’re also 87% more likely than other consumers to enjoy watching daytime dramas (soap operas), 64% more likely to watch daytime judge/​court shows, and 59% more likely to enjoy daytime talk shows.

Last year, 59.3% of Heavy Television Watchers took action after seeing TV commercials. Make sure your clients’ customers are among them.