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What People Watched Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Needless to say, you already know football and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade attracted a lot of eyeballs over the holiday weekend — but what else were people feasting on?

We worked with VIZIO’s Inscape, the TV data company with insights from a panel of more than 16 million active and opted-in smart TVs, to take a look at the programs that had the most reach, as well as the most watch-time, for three periods: Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and the weekend as a whole (Nov. 26-29). Here’s what we found:

Thanksgiving Day

It’s a time-honored tradition to watch two things on Thanksgiving: the Macy’s parade and NFL football. And yes, those topped the list: NFL football reached 38.79% of active VIZIO smart TVs and accounted for 18.82% of all minutes watched on November 26. The parade was second for both reach and watch-time, 25.07% and 6.175, respectively. The National Dog Show also had its share of attention, reaching 16.22% of TVs and capturing 2.28% of watch-time.

Diving a little deeper into the Macy’s parade, 31% of people who watched the 2019 parade watched at least 10 minutes of the 2020 parade, while 27% of viewers of this year’s parade had tuned into at least 10 minutes last year, according to Inscape’s viewership crossover data.

Via Inscape

On the network side of things, CBS reached the most TVs (40.50%), but Fox had the most watch-time (15.88% of all minutes). Outside of broadcast, CNN had the highest reach for cable (8.67%), but Hallmark, with its beloved Christmas movies, had the most watch-time for cable networks (3.28% of minutes)

With the obvious aside, let’s talk Home Town. Yes, I mean the HGTV series featuring Erin and Ben Napier that started in 2016 and has become a staple home improvement series. HGTV ran a marathon of the show on Thanksgiving, and it accounted for 1.44% of all minutes watched that day, putting it in fourth place for watch-time. In general, marathons on cable networks are increasingly capturing watch-time, as they provide ample opportunity for people to sit down for “just one…” but keep watching.

Speaking of marathons….

Black Friday

College football and basketball were the big winners for Black Friday TV viewership, but sneaking into third place for watch-time was Band of Brothers (1.34%), thanks to a marathon on History, followed by Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the marathon of which captured 1.27% of minuted watched on Friday.

Looking at networks for Black Friday, ABC had both the highest reach (28.41%) and minutes watched (9.53%), followed by NBC (23.70% / 5.97%), CBS (21.96% / 4.98%) and Fox (20.62% / 4.79%). While ESPN was No. 5 for reach during the day (11.34%), Hallmark had fifth place for watch-time (4.28%).

Weekend Winners

Put simply, NFL and college football, plus the Macy’s parade, topped the charts for reach and watch-time over the full holiday weekend. But when all was said and done, Home Town was still No. 4 for watch-time, speaking to the power of marathons to capture — and keep — viewer attention.

For networks, broadcasters topped both rankings as you’d assume; ESPN was No. 5 for reach over the whole weekend (19.92%) but Hallmark and its allure of holiday spirit set it solidly in fifth place for watch-time (4.13% of all minutes watched over the long weekend).

Binging…Not Just Food

Finally, Inscape took a look at the most-binged time-shifted shows for Nov. 26-29. While four are the usual suspects (Friends, Law & Order: SVU, The Office and Criminal Minds), coming in at No. 2 for most-binged was HBO’s new series The Undoing.

Via Inscape.tv