In a first, OTT streaming surpasses cable TV, captures largest share of TV viewing: Nielsen

It’s official: OTT streaming platforms are now surpassing cable TV in the US, according to the latest data from Nielsen–the global marketing research firm. The news comes as online streaming platforms get ready for their big releases in the months of August and September with over a $1 billion at stake. The biggest release this month is HBO Max’s House of Dragon which premiered yesterday and is now available on Disney+Hotstar in India. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video is betting big on the Lord of the Rings: the Rings of Power which releases on September 1. And these shows come at a time when online streaming continues to grow bigger, especially in markets such as the US.

According to Nielsen’s The Gauge, which is its monthly total TV and streaming snapshot, streaming now accounts for 34.8 per cent of total television consumption in the US. Cable and Broadcast came in at 34.4 per cent and 21.6 per cent respectively. The report notes that while streaming usage has surpassed that of Broadcast TV before, this is the first time it has also exceeded cable viewing.

The report is another confirmation of how viewing behaviours have shifted drastically and this change in the pattern will continue. While both broadcast and cable are seeing a decline on a yearly basis, Streaming has seen double-digit growth, according to the numbers.

Nielsen’s data also showed that “time spent streaming in July averaged nearly 191 billion minutes per week, and each of the five measurement weeks in July 2022 now accounts for five of the six highest-volume streaming weeks on record.” The biggest winners in the streaming space were Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube as “each captured record-high shares again in July after previously doing so in June.” While Netflix has seen some trouble in recent months, it continues to hold the “largest share of overall TV viewing for a streaming platform with 8 per cent”. Netflix’s numbers were boosted by the release of Stranger Things Season 4, according to Nielsen, which accounts for nearly 18 billion viewing minutes by itself.

Data also showed that Sports, which has traditionally boosted cable TV numbers– saw the biggest decline of nearly 34 per cent from a year ago. “On a monthly basis, broadcast sports viewing declined -41% in July compared to June, and the year-over-year comparison showed a decline of -43%,” notes Nielsen.

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