A heavy sports roster and the run-up to the midterm elections drove overall TV usage up in October. Streaming remained viewers’ preferred delivery method this month, and broadcast channels grew, but cable’s share fell slightly.
Nielsen’s monthly snapshot of TV usage shows that streaming platforms account for 37.3 percent of viewing time in the United States, compared to 36.9 percent in September. Streaming has grown for eight consecutive months, according to Nielsen, leading all platforms for four months in a row.
Broadcasts rose 10 percent in September, adding 1.8 share points on the back of major growth in dramas — more than 40 aired on the five English-language networks, with CBS’ NCIS draw the largest audience among them – and sports. Those two categories made up more than half of all broadcasts (27 percent for dramas, 25 percent for sports). News consumption on broadcast networks also rose 15 percent in October as midterms approached.
Cable outlets lost 0.9 share points in October, ending up with 32.9 percent of all TV usage, despite some growth from news and sports (which make up about 30 percent of all cable programming). Cable and broadcast have both lost significant share over the past 12 months, going from a combined usage of 65.3 percent in October 2021 to 58.9 percent last month. Streaming added nearly nine points to its share over the same period, from 28.4 percent annually to 37.3 percent now.
YouTube was again the most used streaming platform, accounting for 8.5 percent of all TV usage for the month. Netflix had 7.2 percent, down slightly from September, while Hulu jumped to 4 percent. (In September, Nielsen changed its measurement of streaming platforms to a live plus seven-day viewing base; previously it was only live. The figure also includes linear streaming on apps from cable and satellite providers and outlets like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live, which contributed to usage jumps for both.)
Nielsen’s platform ranking for October is below.
Streaming*: 37.3 percent
Cable: 32.9 percent
Broadcast: 26 percent
Other: 3.8 percent
*Includes linear streaming on MVPD apps and VMVPDs such as Hulu + Live and YouTube TV. Broadcast and cable content viewed through linear streaming apps are also assigned to the respective category.
YouTube (including YouTube TV): 8.5 percent
Netflix: 7.2 percent
Hulu (including Hulu + Live): 4 percent
Prime Video: 2.8 percent
Disney+: 2 percent
HBO Max: 1.1 percent
Pluto TV: 0.9 percent
All others: 10.8 percent