In August, cable and broadcast networks regained their dominance in TV viewership, surpassing the 50 percent mark that they had fallen below in July. On the other hand, streaming platforms experienced a small decline, the first in five months.
During July, linear TV outlets accounted for only 49.6 percent of viewing, marking the first time since Nielsen began releasing its monthly Gauge reports that cable and broadcast networks fell below the 50 percent threshold. However, in August, both cable and broadcast made a slight comeback. Cable’s share of TV usage in the United States increased from 29.6 percent in July to 30.2 percent in August, while broadcast networks saw a rise from 20 percent to 20.4 percent.
According to Nielsen, unscripted franchises such as NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and CBS’ “Big Brother,” along with the NFL preseason, were the driving factors behind the increased viewership for broadcast networks. On the other hand, sports and news consumption contributed to the rise in cable viewership.
Despite the slight decline in August, streaming platforms still commanded the largest share of TV viewers’ time among all individual platforms, with 38.3 percent. However, this was down from 38.7 percent in July. The decrease can be attributed to the return of school for kids and teenagers, who make up a significant portion of streaming-first viewers. Nielsen reported that the drop in streaming viewing among the age group of 2-17 accounted for 80 percent of the overall decline. This pattern aligns with a similar gain in streaming viewership at the end of the previous school year in June. Other TV activities like gaming and physical media playback accounted for the remaining 11.1 percent decline in streaming usage.
Despite the monthly dip, the overall trend still shows substantial growth in streaming viewership. Comparing the data to a year ago, streaming platforms accounted for 31.3 percent of TV use, while broadcast and cable combined for 56.6 percent.
In terms of individual streaming services, YouTube and Netflix remained the top two platforms with 9.1 percent and 8.2 percent of all TV usage, respectively. Hulu followed closely with 3.6 percent, and Prime Video held 3.4 percent. Disney+ accounted for 2 percent of TV use, while Tubi and Max each had 1.3 percent. Peacock experienced the most growth compared to the previous month, rising 8.3 percent thanks to its sports offerings and the streaming premiere of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” However, its share of total TV use only increased by a tenth of a point to 1.2 percent. The other streaming services listed in Nielsen’s Gauge report accounted for a combined 5.2 percent of TV usage.
In conclusion, although cable and broadcast networks regained their position above the 50 percent mark in TV viewership, streaming platforms continued to hold a significant share. The slight decline in streaming usage in August can be attributed to the return of school for kids and teenagers. The landscape of TV viewership continues to shift, with streaming platforms experiencing substantial growth over the past year. YouTube and Netflix remain the dominant players, but other streaming services like Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney+ are also gaining traction in the market.