Peacock nabs 1% share of TV viewing in December – Nielsen’s The Gauge

NBCUniversal’s Peacock nabbed a distinction in December as the streaming service captured a 1% share of total TV viewing time in the U.S., breaking out of the “other” streaming category to make its debut in Nielsen’s The Gauge tracker for the first time.

Along with passing the 1% threshold, The Gauge said Peacock showed consistent growth across previous measurement intervals. The analysis noted Peacock’s achievement in December corresponds with the success of Peacock Original “The Best Man: The Final Chapters,” which was released ahead of the Christmas holiday.

Ahead of December Peacock also added Hallmark content in a linear and SVOD deal that included holiday programming from the TV network. The streaming service offers three tiers including a $10 per month premium plus plan with no commercials, a cheaper $5 per month plan with ads, and a completely free ad-supported option.

Peacock in early December reached 18 million paid subscribers, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell disclosed.

At the time, he said usage on the platform was outperforming the company’s own early expectations.

“We’re seeing usage of over 20 hours per month on those paid subscribers, which is well above what we forecasted three years ago when we launched the business,” Shell said last month. NBCU parent Comcast reports results for the fourth quarter next week on January 26.

Before Peacock, Paramount Global’s free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service Pluto TV was the most recent to break out of The Gauge’s “other streaming” category back in September, marking a first for any FAST. In December Pluto TV saw its share recede to 0.8% of TV time, according to The Gauge.   

Overall TV usage and streaming’s share of it in December were at similar levels as November, with TV time increasing slightly by 0.3% meaning the final month of 2022 was the second-highest month in overall TV consumption last year (behind January). December saw five days that had over 100 billion minutes of TV viewing.

Of that TV time, streaming – which includes virtual MVPDs such as YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV – again captured the largest share at 38.1%. That’s ahead of cable which garnered 30.9% and broadcast at 24.7% in December. Linear TV viewing from MVPDs and virtual MVPD apps accounted for 5.3% of total TV usage and 14% of streaming usage in the period.

While streaming was largely flat month over month, the category saw major gains since a year ago – with time spent watching jumping 46.1% compared to December 2021.  The category’s share has also climbed over 10 share points since then from 27.7%.

Within the streaming category, HBO Max saw the largest surge in viewing across all streaming platforms, with usage up 18.1%. That bumped the Warner Bros. Discovery-owned service’s share by 0.2 points to represent 1.4% of total TV consumption in the month.

YouTube remained the top share holder at 8.7%, though like second-ranked Netflix, lost one-tenth of a share point compared to November. YouTube TV, which offers a cable-like linear channel lineup, accounted for 14.3% of YouTube viewing in December or 1.2 share points.

And while SVODs HBO Max and Peacock saw gains, usage for Hulu in December was down 11%. Still the platform captured 3.4% of TV time (down slightly from its share in November), with Hulu Live accounting for just over 10% of viewing on the platform, or 0.3 share points.

Nielsen The Gauge Dec_2022