Nielsen: US total TV usage falls, despite streaming growth

The Gauge, May 2023. Nielsen’s monthly snapshot of total broadcast, cable and streaming consumption that occurs via television.

The total TV usage in the US dropped in May, with a steady growth in streaming, reports audience measurement outfit Nielsen.

According to Nielsen’s monthly total TV and streaming snapshot The Gauge, TV usage across households in the US fell by 4.4% from April to May. Comparatively, time spent watching TV declined 2.7% over the same period in 2022.

However streaming had increased 2.5% in May compared to April, from 34.0% to 36.4%. Nielsen noted a technical enhancement was a factor in the rise, approximately half of the increase was a reflection of viewing behaviour alone.

Global streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime Video each gained momentum in May, earning 9.2% (+1.0 pts.) and 5.1% (+0.3 pts.), respectively.

Roughly half of Netflix’s increase was due to the aforementioned technical enhancement said Nielsen, coupled with a boost from its originals – Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (5.4 billion viewing minutes), A Man Called Otto (3.1 billion) and The Mother (3.0 billion). Prime Video original series such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Citadel also drove growth for the platform.

While, YouTube held its position as the top streaming platform for the fourth consecutive month, gaining 0.4 share points in May.

Broadcast and cable viewing each fell by 5.5% and 5.4%, respectively, in May versus April, and each surrendered 0.3 share points. Broadcast sports viewing was down 25% in May compared with April, and the genre represented 7.9% of broadcast’s 22.8% share. Cable sports viewership rose 12% in May driven by NBA Finals coverage on ESPN and TNT.

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