Streaming snags record share of TV viewing in September

September was another record month for streaming, as the category captured its largest-ever share of total TV usage – surpassing cable and broadcast yet again, according to Nielsen’s The Gauge.

Last month streaming accounted for 36.9% of total TV usage – almost two points better than August when it captured 35%, and a 34.6% increase from September 2021. It bested cable (33.8% share), which remained relatively flat versus August but saw the category’s lowest share to date based on The Gauge reporting.

Streaming also beat out broadcast, which had a 24.2% share. Despite the lowest category share for the month, a massive 222% increase in sports viewing helped the broadcast category clinch the largest month-over-month increase, driving a 12.4% jump in usage for September. Still, compared to September 2021, broadcast viewing volume was down 7.1% and lost 2.1 share points.

Overall, total TV usage climbed 2.4% last month versus August.

As for the streaming category, there were a few notable firsts as fall got underway. That includes Pluto TV, the Paramount-owned free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service, edging its way out of the "other streaming" category by crossing the 1% share threshold. It marks a first for both Pluto TV and any FAST service, according to The Gauge. Paramount’s premium streaming service Paramount+ didn’t make the breakout list.

YouTube, including YouTube TV, was the top streaming platform for the first time – capturing an 8% share (the best-ever for the platform) of streaming and tying Netflix’s July record. Netflix still commanded a strong portion of streaming TV time with 7.3%, lower than its 7.6% August showing but only second only to YouTube.

Hulu (including Hulu Live) had its own record month, nabbing 3.8% share of streaming – up one percentage point from the month prior. Big series and live sports on streaming also helped fuel usage increases for Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max, even though their respective share remained relatively flat versus August.

Nielsen The Gauge September 2022

September marked the start of Amazon’s broadcast of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football and the debut of “The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power” series. The Lord of the Rings prequel series premiere drew 25 million viewers, while TNF has averaged 10.8 million viewers for the first five games on Prime Video. Together those drove a 34.7% year over year increase in viewing on the platform. HBO Max, meanwhile, had its hit “House of the Dragon” series, which alongside viewing of “Game of Thrones” drove a more than 9.9% increase in usage – marking the largest jump among the reported platforms.