Streaming Hits All-Time Weekly High in December, According to the Gauge

From a total viewing perspective, streaming was the clear outlier during the week of Christmas, as Americans watched a total of 183 billion minutes – an all-time high –  across the growing range of over-the-top platforms. The aggregate viewing was enough to easily dethrone the 160 billion minutes watched during March 2020 (when stay-at-home restrictions began in the U.S.), as well as the 178 billion minutes watched during the week of Thanksgiving just a month earlier. The spike in streaming viewing also gave streamers 33% viewing share of total TV viewing during the week of Christmas, which was the most as measured by Nielsen.

From a reporting standpoint, this month’s edition of The Gauge expands the granularity of the data we provide. Instead of rounding, we have expanded viewing share calculations to display an additional decimal of data. This additional data will make it easier to see month-to-month changes in viewing share. In December, broadcast viewing dropped one share point and the “other” category, which includes video on-demand content, cable set top box streaming, gaming, and DVD usage, gained 1.6% share on the strength of video gaming, during what could be considered the “premiere season” in that category.  Overall streaming was fairly flat for the month, remaining consistent with 28% share.

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.)