Streaming Holds Strong Over Cable And Broadcast

The Gauge, Nielsen’s monthly visualization of total TV and streaming consumption in the U.S., revealed in the February 2023 report that time spent watching TV fell 5.1% from January to February, in line with the seasonality of viewing behavior for this time of year. This monthly decline in viewing was nearly the same as the 5.7% decline observed over the same period in 2022. However, while usage fell across each of the primary TV formats this month, streaming was least impacted and decreased less than 1% versus January, while viewing to broadcast and cable content decreased 9.2% and 5.7%, respectively.

As a result of the varying downturns in viewing across formats this month, the streaming category was the only to exhibit any growth in share (+1.5 pts.) versus January to finish the month at 34.3%* of overall TV usage, which also marked another record-high share for the digital format.

Among the streaming platform highlights this month, Tubi TV achieved a 1.0% share of total TV for the first time in February, making it the 9th streaming platform to reach this threshold and thus be broken out in The Gauge. YouTube (not including YouTube TV) accounted for nearly 8% of overall TV usage in February and captured the largest share among streaming platforms in The Gauge.

The 9.2% monthly decline in viewing to broadcast content in February was driven by a nearly 65% drop in broadcast sports viewing due to the conclusion of the NFL season, and contributed to a loss of 1.1 share points for the category. Compared with February 2022, broadcast content viewing was down about 8%, and the category lost 2.2 share points.

Cable viewing decreased 5.7% versus January, which led to a loss of 0.2 share points to end the month with a 30.2% share of TV. Cable sports viewing declined over 34% in February despite events like the NFL Pro Bowl and NBA All Star Game. Cable news viewing rose slightly (2.4%) versus January, driven by activity around the State of the Union Address, and the genre remains the most-watched of the category, making up 18.6% of cable. On a year-over-year basis, time spent watching cable content declined 14.1% and the category has lost 5.1 share points.