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Americans Are Watching a Lot Less TV Now That States Are Reopening

The streaming boom has ended, and ratings for traditional television are plunging

People sit on lounge chairs in the water park section of Legoland theme park in Winter Haven, Florida, June 10.

People sit on lounge chairs in the water park section of Legoland theme park in Winter Haven, Florida, June 10.

Photographer: Eve Edelheit/Bloomberg

If you want proof that the U.S. is easing out of quarantine, just look at TV ratings.

After climbing in March and April — while Americans hunkered down under stay-at-home orders — live television viewership has begun to plunge again. Even Netflix Inc. and other streaming services, seen as more resilient than traditional TV networks, are suffering a slide in demand. Streaming-video use has fallen by more than 25% from its peak in early April.

Music consumption, meanwhile, is moving in the other direction. It declined during the pandemic because people often listen while in transit. Now it’s going up again.

Back in April, Bloomberg mapped out the changes in how people were watching movies, playing video games and listening to music. Now that many Americans are trying to put the pandemic behind them, we’re taking another look at the way it’s playing out in media.