Nielsen: streaming reaches new high in US as broadcast plumbs new depths

Streaming consumption in the US reached a record 38.7% of viewing time in the US in July, while broadcast viewing fell to an all-time low of 20%, according to audience research outfit Nielsen.

Streaming consumption was boosted by children being on holiday, with Australian kids show Bluey leading the charge, and by the popularity of drama Suits on Netflix.

While overall TV usage was up just slightly from June (0.2%), viewing among people under the age of 18 increased 4%, and viewing among adults 18 and older fell 0.3%.

This boosted increased streaming and “other” usage, with the latter primarily attributed to video game consoles.

New shows that boosted the streaming total included The Witcher and The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Prime Video and The Bear on Hulu, but acquired content led the increase. Suits, streaming on Netflix and Peacock, and Bluey on Disney+ were the most watched programmes in July, accounting for 23 billion viewing minutes.

In aggregate, the heavy viewing levels pushed streaming’s share of TV to 38.7%, a new record, with Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and YouTube all hitting all-time highs.

Overall, total broadcast viewing was down 3.6% to finish the month at 20% of TV, representing a new low. On a year-over-year basis, broadcast usage was down 5.4%.

Cable viewing accounted for 29.6% of TV viewing in July, with usage falling 1.5%.

Nielsen said it expected broadcast viewing to recover to some extent in the autumn with the arrival of a new NFL season. In November 2022 sports accounted for 150 billion viewing minutes on broadcast. The impact of the actors and writers strikes is likely to further highlight the prominence of acquired programming on streaming channels over the next few months, Nielsen said.

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