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Streaming Was More Popular Than Cable Last Month: TV Data


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More people in the US watched streaming services than cable or broadcast TV in July 2022, according to the latest TV viewership data from Nielsen. Even though this is not particularly newsworthy in terms of broadcast, last month essentially saw streaming take over cable for the first time.

Streaming is currently growing at an extraordinary rate, and on all fronts. There are those that have turned to streaming to access popular services like Netflix and HBO Max, and those that have turned to streaming to watch free movies and shows. Not to mention, there are also those that have now turned to streaming for their live TV needs, with Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV proving to be the most popular live TV streaming services in the United States.

All of which appears to be continually helping streaming to gain in overall viewership. According to the latest data, streaming accounted for a total of 32.8% of TV viewership in July, and this compared to 32.4% for cable. The data, from Nielsen, also showed broadcast at 21.6% with “other” accounting for 9%. As the report points out, even though streaming has surpassed broadcast in the past, “this is the first time it has also surpassed cable viewing.”

Digging deeper into the streaming numbers and Netflix was the overall single winner with an 8% share. This was then followed by 7.3% for YouTube, which includes YouTube TV viewership. Then came Hulu at 3.6% (including Hulu Live TV viewers), followed by 3% for Prime Video, 1.8% for Disney Plus, and 1.0 for HBO Max. The remaining 10.2% grouped together the rest of the steaming options as “other streaming.”

TV viewing Nielsen data July 2022
Source: Nielsen

To put the change into perspective, Nielsen provided comparable data for the previous months. In July of last year, streaming accounted for 28.3%, and while respectable, it was still far behind the 37.7% for cable. With each month that passed since, the change can be seen gradually taking effect, with streaming continually increasing in viewership while cable slowly crept in the opposite direction. All of which would seem to suggest that July won’t be an outlier but a sign of what’s to come, as streaming continues to inch closer to becoming the dominant way in which TV is consumed.

Of course, there is still some way to go until that does actually happen. For example, and in spite of the leadership of ‘streaming’ as a single category last month, cable and broadcast still dominated in reality. When taking together, these traditional TV services accounted for 56% of total viewership, compared to streaming’s 34.8%.

John Finn


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