TV draws a bigger audience

2020, year of the coronavirus: Average viewing time rises to 220 minutes a day / Münster-Tatort is the most-watched TV show


Frankfurt, January 5, 2021. The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, including the viewing habits of Germans. Every day in 2020, 72 percent of persons aged 14 and over tuned in – 3.1 percent more than in 2019. On average, viewers aged 3 and older watched TV for 220 minutes (3 hours and 40 minutes) per day. This is a significant increase of about 10 minutes per day compared to 2019. However, TV usage increased not only compared to the previous year, but also compared to the declining trend of the past few years, despite the fact that many events that are otherwise guaranteed to deliver high ratings – such as the European Soccer Cup, the Summer Olympics, and live sports in general – were cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The main factor driving TV usage across all target groups was a heightened need for information. Besides news and information programs, TV audiences also tuned in to fiction classics and (live) entertainment shows.

Particularly among the younger target groups, the trend of declining TV usage was arrested in the past year, which was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and an increased need for information. The average viewing time among 14-to-49 year-olds was 137 minutes, or 2 hours and 17 minutes per day (3 am-3 am, Monday through Sunday), nearly the same as in the previous year. “This stabilization of viewing times is remarkable because younger target groups in particular are increasingly consuming video content more intensively on streaming platforms, which can be watched whenever the viewer pleases, and are using conventional linear TV more selectively,” said Kerstin Niederauer-Kopf, Chairperson of the Executive Management of AGF Videoforschung.

The universe serving as the basis for AGF’s evaluation systems is the residential population of Germany aged 3 and older in private households with at least one TV set in use and a German-speaking main income earner.

“On a month-by-month basis, we see a clear connection between viewing times and the development of the coronavirus pandemic in Germany,” Niederauer-Kopf said. Both in March and April, during the first lockdown, and in November and December, the average viewing time of viewers aged 3 and older was considerably longer than in the respective preceding months. A very clear connection can likewise be observed in 14-to-49 year-olds, although it was not as pronounced in November and December as in the spring. “This development points to increased usage of video in general and TV in particular in the current situation. The use of conventional linear TV is particularly driven by the strong interest in news among viewers, especially younger viewers.” The German Federal Chancellor’s speech on March 18, 2020, when she said “This is serious. So you should take it seriously”, reached a total of 36.382 million persons across all platforms and terminal devices measured by AGF. Thus, almost every second German speaker watched it either live on TV or at some later point as a video.

Moreover, those who watched the Chancellor’s New Year’s address on TV on December 31, 2020 rose substantially to 15.402 million. By comparison, the cumulative net reach for all viewers on different public broadcasters in the previous year was 10.146 million. Thus, 5,256 million more people watched the address in 2020. This corresponds to an increase of 51.8 percent over 2019. The increased interest in this political address compared to the previous year was even more pronounced among younger viewers. A total of 2.952 million adults between 14 and 49 years of age tuned in to one of the TV broadcasters carrying the address. This corresponds to an uplift of 70.4 percent.

The strong interest in news is also reflected in the list of the most-watched TV programmes  (Minimum programme length: 5 minutes). Whereas not one news format was among the top 5 formats watched by all viewers in 2019, the news broadcast “Tagesschau” on the channel Das Erste on March 22, 2020 – right after the announcement of the first lockdown – and the news broadcast “heute journal” on the channel ZDF on August 23, 2020 were among the most-watched programs in 2020. That being said, the success of “heute journal” might also have been due at least in part to the fact that it aired during halftime of the Uefa Champions League final match between Paris Saint Germain and FC Bayern München.

Top 5 TV Formats in 2020: Total viewers (Mo-So, 3:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.) / TVR

  1. „Tatort: Es lebe der König!“ (Das Erste, 13/12/2020): 13,797 m
  2. „Tatort: Limbus“ (Das Erste, 08/11/2020): 13,153 m
  3. „Uefa Champions League: Paris – Bayern München“ (ZDF, 23/08/2020): 12,810 m
  4. „heute journal / Wetter“ (ZDF, 23/08/2020): 12,420 m
  5. „Tagesschau“ (Das Erste 22/03/2020): 12,402 m

Source: AGF Videoforschung in cooperation with GfK; VIDEOSCOPE 1.4, 01.01.2020-31.12.2020, Marktstandard: TV, Datenpaket 4619 vom 04.01.2021

Whereas two Münster-Tatort broadcasts (Das Erste) were most popular among total viewers, the Uefa Champions League finale ranked highest among 14-to-49 year-olds and the finale of “The Masked Singer” on Pro Sieben also made it to the top 5:

Top 5 TV Formats in 2020: Adults 14 to 49 years (Mo-So, 3:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.) / TVR

  1. „Uefa Champions League: Paris – Bayern München“ (ZDF, 23/08/2020): 4,347 m
  2. „heute journal / Wetter“ (ZDF, 23/08/2020): 4,079 m
  3. „Tagesschau“ (Das Erste, 22/03/2020): 3,583 m
  4. „Tatort: Es lebe der König!“ (Das Erste, 13/12/2020): 3,384 m
  5. „The Masked Singer“ (Pro Sieben, 28/04/2020): 3,373 m

Source: AGF Videoforschung in cooperation with GfK; VIDEOSCOPE 1.4, 01.01.2020-31.12.2020, Marktstandard: TV, Datenpaket 4619 vom 04.01.2021

 

Streaming usage also increased substantially in 2020, with the net reach among total viewers rising by almost one third over 2019.

The usage volume, meaning the time spent watching streamed content, increased by 46.0 percent among total viewers and by 49.2 percent among adults aged 14 to 49 compared to 2019. The average viewing time for streaming content among total viewers increased by 45.7 percent and among adults aged 14 to 49 by almost 52 percent to an average of 3 minutes.

The most popular streaming formats (net reach) among total viewers were episodes of “Das Geheimnis des Totenwaldes” (Das Erste), “Unterleuten” (ZDF), “Mirage” (ZDF) and “Das Boot” (ZDF):

Top 5 Streaming Formats in 2020: Total Viewers / Net reach {STR}

  1. „Das Geheimnis des Totenwaldes (Episode 2)“ (Das Erste, 05/12/2020): 1,277 m
  2. „Das Geheimnis des Totenwaldes (Episode 3)“ (Das Erste, 09/12/2020): 1,257 m
  3. „Unterleuten – Das zerrissene Dorf (Episode 1)“ (ZDF, 09/03/2020): 1,151 m
  4. „Mirage – Gefährliche Lügen (Episode 1)“ (ZDF, 08/06/2020): 1,077 m
  5. „Das Boot (Episode 4)“ (ZDF, 06/01/2020): 1,026 m

Source: AGF Videoforschung in cooperation with GfK, DAP, Nielsen, ANKORDATA; VIDEOSCOPE 1.4, January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020, Market Standard: video, performance values for mobile data based exclusively on users aged 18 and older, Data Package 4620 of January 4, 2021

Among viewers aged 14 to 49, the historical spectacle “Oktoberfest 1900” and the documentary “Trump, meine amerikanische Familie und ich” (ARD Das Erste) were also among the year’s winners:

Top 5 Streaming Formats in 2020: Adults 14 to 49 years / Net reach {STR}

  1. „Das Geheimnis des Totenwaldes (Episode 2)“ (Das Erste, 05/12/2020): 0,602 m
  2. „Unterleuten – Das zerrissene Dorf (Episode 1)“ (ZDF, 09/03/2020): 0,590 m
  3. „Oktoberfest 1900 (Episode 3)“ (Das Erste, 23/09/2020): 0,584 m
  4. „Trump, meine amerikanische Familie und ich“ (Das Erste, 02/11/2020): 0,574 m
  5. „Das Geheimnis des Totenwaldes (Episode 3)“ (Das Erste, 09/12/2020): 0,569 m

Source: AGF Videoforschung in coopertion with GfK, DAP, Nielsen, ANKORDATA; VIDEOSCOPE 1.4, January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020, Market standard: video, performance values for mobile data based exclusively on users aged 18 and older, Data Package 4620 of January 4, 2021

Overall, the top 5 is dominated by formats of the public broadcasters. For the top 5 streaming formats, AGF identifies all offerings that actively participate in the measurement performed by AGF’s service provider. These are primarily the offerings of the TV broadcasters. The results of the streaming formats are still subject to change in part because usage within 60 days of the initial broadcast is included in the measurement.

About AGF Videoforschung GmbH (www.agf.de)

AGF Videoforschung GmbH specializes in impartial video research. AGF continuously tracks the use of video content in Germany on a quantitative basis and analyses the data collected. It invests many millions of euros per year to continuously refine its instruments in order to deliver reliable data on the use of video content to the market on a daily basis. AGF consults closely with all market partners, including licensed TV stations, advertisers and media agencies.

Press contact:
Juliane Paperlein
Head of Corporate Communication | AGF Videoforschung GmbH |
T +49 69 95 52 60 55 | |

www.agf.de