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Streaming surpasses traditional TV with record 38.7% viewership tally

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According to a new survey, modern OTT platforms have defeated traditional TV as streaming accounted for a record 38.7% of all TV viewing in July 2023, with bought titles exceeding new originals in the United States.

According to Nielsen data, the high volume of viewing overall increased streaming’s proportion of TV to 38.7%, setting a new record. Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube all reached record highs.

At 20% of TV viewing for the month, total broadcast viewing was down 3.6% overall, setting a record low. The use of broadcasts decreased by 5.4% on a yearly basis, the survey found.

In July, cable viewership declined as well, dropping a full percentage point to 29.6% of all TV viewing.

Less than 50% of all TV viewing today comes through linear TV.

According to the survey, “watching among those under the age of 18 grew 4%, and viewing among individuals 18 and over declined 0.3%, even if overall TV consumption was up just slightly from June (0.2%).”

These developments led to a rise in streaming and “other” consumption, especially because of gaming consoles.

Comparatively, sports on broadcast generated about 25 billion viewing minutes in July in the US, despite airing on numerous channels.

Fall’s arrival will probably bring a change in TV viewing habits, especially with the start of a new NFL season.

For instance, sports accounted for 150 billion viewing minutes on broadcast in November 2022.

According to the research, “Broadcast and cable may face a unique position this fall with the prospect for less fresh original primetime material, but the recent success of purchased programming on streaming channels underscores the outsized strength of exceptional content, regardless of when it was made.”

“Linear TV [is] past the point of no return,” Macquarie analyst Tim Nollen wrote in a note to clients, adding that the revenue line for cable and satellite operators is “probably permanently negative” as pricing fails to drive upside while TV advertising growth stalls.”

“We think the metrics for linear TV are all bad. Ad revenue across our media network coverage fell 13% on average in Q2, down from -8% in 1Q, which included the Super Bowl. We forecast the second half of the year will get slightly better, but to remain negative including an off-political year comparison,” the analyst added further.

The Nielsen report comes amid more consumers dropping their cable packages in a trend known as “cord-cutting” and instead opting for streaming services that are deemed to be traditionally less profitable for media companies.

“Still, streaming is not exactly outperforming either,” Nollen warned, as he stated that subscriber numbers at major direct-to-consumer services (DTC) including Peacock, Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Paramount+, Max and Discovery+ were down by about 500,000 combined.

“Global DTC subscriber growth was 8.5% year-over-year (YoY), slowing to single digits for the first time,” the analyst wrote further, while adding that the growth was aided by Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown, which helped the leading video streamer add 5.9 million subscribers in the second quarter.

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