Streaming is surpassing linear TV viewership

Did you spend July binge-watching Stranger Things and The Bear? So did everyone else, apparently.

In July, TV watchers in the US spent more time streaming than they did watching cable or watching broadcast TV, according to data from Nielsen. Viewers spent 34.8% of their total TV time streaming, and they streamed an average of 190.9 billion minutes per week, the measurement firm shared.

  • It’s the first time that streaming has beat out cable viewing time. Year over year, cable usage fell 8.9% in July, while streaming was up 22.6%.
  • 8% of all TV time last month was dedicated to Netflix viewing, with 18 billion minutes spent streaming Stranger Things.
  • Viewers spent 3.6% of all TV time on Hulu, spending a combined 3 billion minutes watching The Bear and Only Murders in the Building.

Meanwhile: Consumption of good-old-fashioned linear TV dropped to a yearly low in the second quarter of 2022, according to Samba TV.

  • While about half the population in the US—or about 56 million households—watched linear TV daily, “the proportion of viewers who were regularly reached via linear ads shrunk to just 5% in Q2 2022,” Samba found.
  • According to the research, “40 out of the 50 most-watched linear TV programs” in the second quarter were sports-related.
  • Three-quarters of linear ads among the top TV advertisers (which include the likes of Domino’s, Walmart, and T-Mobile) were served to households over the age of 34, as younger audiences continue to under-index on linear TV.

The new data from Nielsen and Samba TV highlights just how much streaming continues to gain on linear TV platforms, and how fragmented viewership is across streaming. At least sports remains one of the few places where advertisers can find big audiences on traditional TV.

By: Kelsey Sutton