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U.S. Charts Record-Breaking Movie & TV Viewership


Time spent watching TV shows and movies in the U.S. in the first half of 2021 increased 4 percent over the previous year, according to The NPD Group, as screen-entertainment spending declined by 1 percent.

Between January and June, watching TV and movies made up 30 percent of the time U.S. consumers spent entertaining themselves. There were significant differences between the first quarter and the second, since the first quarter compares against viewing before the rise in Covid-19 cases, while the second quarter compares against the rising viewership levels achieved as people across the U.S. stayed home.

According to NPD, watching movies in movie theaters remained significantly below pre-pandemic levels in the first half of the year. Entertainment time was diverted to in-home viewing through premium release windows and the proliferation of SVOD services.

The digital transaction business that saw gains in 2020 is now poised to retain viewer engagement. These gains are happening, in part, because of shorter exhibition windows and the release of premium on-demand offerings.

“Looking ahead, the mandate for the industry is to retain viewer engagement and win the battle for share of viewers’ time,” said John Buffone, connected intelligence and media entertainment industry analyst for NPD. “As consumers migrate back to experiential activities, the available time to engage in watching TV shows and movies will naturally decline.”

About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at


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