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Linear TV viewing drops below 50% of US television use for the first time, streaming hits record high: Nielsen

Broadcast and cable TV dropped to a new low in July 2023 in terms of total share among US viewers – below 50% of total TV use in the United States for the first time, according to Nielsen.

Meanwhile, streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix accounted for a record 38.7% of total TV usage in the US, the largest share in the category yet reported in Nielsen’s monthly report The Gauge. Overall TV usage was up 0.2% over the month (and usage among viewers under 18 was up 4%).

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In July, cable’s share fell below 30% for the first time, losing a full point to stand at 29.6%. Broadcast usage was down 3.6%, down 0.8 points. On an annual basis, the number of TV viewers fell by 5.4% (-1.5 points) and cable viewing by 12.5% ​​(-4.8 points).

Of the streaming platforms, three achieved record shares of TV use in July: YouTube (excluding YouTube TV) rose 5.6% from June, and its share rose to 9.2% of total TV use – the largest of all all platforms. Netflix viewing was up 4.2% from June, bringing it to 8.5% of total TV usage. Watching Amazon Prime Video increased 5% from June to 3.4% of total TV usage (+0.2 points) in July.

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The “other” category in Nielsen’s monthly TV usage estimates includes unmetered video-on-demand (VOD), audio streaming, video gaming, and Blu-ray/DVD playback.

The two most streamed titles in July were licensed shows: “Suits” (pictured above), the legal drama starring Patrick J. Adams, Gabriel Macht, and Meghan Markle, on Netflix and Peacock; and Australian kids’ animated favorite “Bluey” (Disney+). Those shows accounted for 23 billion viewing minutes, of which ‘Suits’ alone accounted for almost 18 billion. By comparison, Netflix original “Stranger Things” had logged nearly 18 billion minutes of viewing by July 2022 after the release of its fourth season.

On broadcast TV, dramas continued to be the best broadcasts in July (with a 25.7% share of the category), while the most broadcast programs were “ABC World News Tonight” and the MLB All-Star Game on Fox. On cable, ESPN’s Home Run Derby and College World Series were the top two cable shows in July, followed by “When Calls the Heart” on the Hallmark Channel.

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Nielsen’s estimates include consumer TV usage in the US (including Internet-connected TVs), combining two separately weighted panels. Streaming data is derived from a subset of U.S. TV households with the company’s streaming meters within the Nielsen National TV panel, and linear TV sources and total usage are based on views of the overall Nielsen TV panel.

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