Streaming Climbs to New Heights Again in April Despite a Dip in Total TV Viewing

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April marked yet another milestone for streaming, as audiences spent more than 30% of their total TV time watching over-the-top video content. This is the first time streaming has eclipsed 30% of total TV usage. The increased share was backed by almost the same volume of streaming as in March, despite a 2.1% dip in total TV viewing, which is seasonally reflective of usage at the start of spring.

As we’ve been tracking, the growth of the streaming industry has welcomed an array of new entrants, each with their own roster of content offerings. That growth is reflected in the rising engagement with the “other streaming” category, which has gained more than two full share points since Nielsen debuted The Gauge with May 2021 TV viewing data. And in April, HBO Max grew its share to 1%, the threshold for stand-alone representation in the chart below. 

While streaming volume was flat on a month-over-month basis, both broadcast and cable saw a decrease in viewing by 3% and 2.5%, respectively. Broadcast viewing was reflective of 14.7% less drama viewing and a 38.2% drop in sports viewing. The dip in cable viewing was reflective of a 16.9% decline in news viewing, which was somewhat balanced by a 17% increase in sports, fueled by the viewing of the NCAA basketball finals and NBA.

Take me to the methodology details below.

Watch the video to hear Brian Fuhrer, SVP, Product Strategy at Nielsen provide a behind the scenes look at some of the viewing changes underpinning The Gauge.

METHODOLOGY AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The Gauge provides a monthly macroanalysis of how consumers are accessing content across key television delivery platforms, including Broadcast, Streaming, Cable and Other sources. It also includes a breakdown of the major, individual streaming distributors. The chart itself shows the share by category and of total television usage by individual streaming distributors.

The data for The Gauge is derived from two separately weighted panels and combined to create the graphic. Nielsen’s streaming data is derived from a subset of Streaming Meter-enabled TV households within the National TV panel. The linear TV sources (Broadcast and Cable), as well as total usage are based on viewing from Nielsen’s overall TV panel.

All the data is based on a specific time period for each viewing source. The data, representing a 5 week month, includes a combination of Live+7 for weeks 1 – 4 in the data time period. (Note: Live+7 includes live television viewing plus viewing up to seven days later. Live +3 includes television viewing plus viewing up to three days later.)

Within The Gauge, “Other” includes all other TV. This primarily includes all other tuning (unmeasured sources), unmeasured video on demand (VOD), streaming through a cable set top box, gaming, and other device (DVD playback) use. Because streaming via cable set top boxes does not credit respective streaming distributors, these are included in the “Other” category. Crediting individual streaming distributors from cable set top boxes is something Nielsen continues to pursue as we enhance our Streaming Meter technology.

Streaming platforms listed as “Other Streaming” includes any high-bandwidth video streaming on television that is not individually broken out.

Yes, Hulu includes viewing on Hulu Live and Youtube includes viewing on Youtube TV.

Encoded Live TV, aka encoded linear streaming, is included in both the Broadcast and Cable groups (linear TV) as well as under Streaming and other streaming e.g. Hulu Live, Youtube TV, Other Streaming MVPD/vMVPD apps. (Note: MVPD, or multichannel video programming distributor, is a service that provides multiple television channels. vMVPDs are distributors that aggregate linear (TV) content licensed from major programming networks and packaged together in a standalone subscription format and accessible on devices with a broadband connection.)

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