Broadcast and cable TV now account for less than 50% of total viewing time.

Broadcast and cable TV now account for less than 50% of total viewing time.

The Rise of Streaming: A New Era in Television Consumption


Streaming services have taken the world by storm, becoming increasingly popular and changing the way we consume television. Despite recent price increases and crackdowns on password sharing, streaming continues to gain momentum. New data from Nielsen reveals that for the month of July 2023, streaming achieved record highs while traditional linear TV saw record lows.

In terms of television usage during July, streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Disney+ accounted for a staggering 38.7% of total time, marking the highest percentage to date. In contrast, linear television fell below the 50% mark for the first time, settling at 49.6% of total usage. This data, derived from Nielsen’s monthly report called “The Gauge,” offers an insightful overview of media consumption during the preceding month.

Within the streaming category, YouTube emerged as the most popular service, claiming just over 9% of total watch time. Netflix followed closely behind at 8%, while Hulu claimed the third position with 3.6%. Amazon Prime and Disney+ rounded out the top five with 3.4% and 2.0% respectively. Notably, YouTube, Netflix, and Prime all achieved record individual highs in terms of viewing shares.

The most-watched programs on streaming platforms included Suits, available on Netflix and Peacock, which accumulated a staggering 18 billion viewing minutes. Bluey on Disney+ claimed the second spot with 5 million minutes viewed. These numbers signify the growing popularity and influence of streaming platforms in captivating audiences.

When considering traditional linear television, cable TV accounted for 29.6% of viewing time, with an additional 20% for broadcast channels. Collectively, linear television remained just below 50% of overall usage. However, cable experienced a decline of 12.5% over the year, while broadcast saw a decrease of 5.4%. ABC World News Tonight emerged as the most-watched program across both broadcast and cable, while the Major League Baseball’s All-Star game secured the second spot.

While the rise of streaming is not surprising, the fact that traditional television still accounts for half of usage is a noteworthy revelation. Streaming has undoubtedly grown in popularity, but it still has some ground to cover to catch up with the “old school” television experience.

The data provided by Nielsen paints a vivid picture of the ever-changing landscape of television consumption. Streaming services have revolutionized the way we watch our favorite shows and movies. With YouTube leading the pack and Netflix as a close contender, these platforms have captivated audiences with their extensive libraries of content.

In conclusion, as technology and media continue to evolve, streaming services are on the rise, holding a significant share of television usage. While linear television still maintains a substantial presence, it is clear that streaming is becoming the preferred choice for many viewers. The dynamic shift in consumer behavior signifies the beginning of a new era in television consumption, where on-demand streaming reigns supreme.