Italy decreed national quarantine on March 9, five days before Spain – although it had already isolated Lombardy and 14 other northern provinces. Since then, as has been happening in Spain, the news and current affairs programs have focused on the coronavirus crisis. The audiences reflected that this was the type of content that the incarcerated population demanded in their homes. They saw on television the way to stay current on the evolution of the pandemic.
Now, however, in Italy the situation has changed. The constant news about the coronavirus has saturated thousands of homes, which have become much more selective with the information. As a consequence, the series and films have been rewarded, according to a study by the Italian company Barometro published in La Repubblica.
An example of this is the case of Speciale Tg1, weekly news program of the public channel Rai 1. From last March 11 to the 27 of the same month the night special lost more than 3.8 million viewers. The nightly edition of Tg1, the country’s main news program, has also suffered a sudden and unexpected drop. The data for the last week compared to the previous one reflects a leak of viewers of more than 352,000 in the most important edition, that of 8:00 pm, Monday through Friday. This drop in audience data has only been mitigated by the press conference of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday March 28.
This change in demand has also affected, although to a lesser extent, the newsletter Tg5, of the Italian television channel Canale 5, owned by Mediaset. From week to week, and according to data from Monday to Friday, this newscast suffered a drop of 58,710 viewers.
In Spain there has also been a constant renewal by the information programs. At the moment, the audience data maintains the high demand for them. In March, 40.7 million people saw these spaces, which is 2.1 million more than in February, according to data from Barlovento.
In Italy, the data confirms the change in trend: current affairs programs across the national network have lost more than 210,000 viewers in three weeks. Between the first and second week of the Covid-19’s emergence, the fictions managed to attract more than 2.4 million viewers. The Italian media attributes these figures to the broadcast of the series about the curator Montalbano, a character in the novels by Andrea Camilleri, who have been on Italian television for more than 20 years. That, and the fiction Doc, which debuted with more than 7 million viewers last Thursday.