Streaming’s TV share continued upward trajectory in August: Nielsen

Streaming yet again continued to grab a larger share of total TV viewing in August, hitting its latest record high even as overall usage stayed flat ahead of the traditional fall content season, according to Nielsen’s The Gauge.

According to the snapshot, in August total streaming nabbed a 35% share of total TV usage – besting its previous record of 34.8% in July when it surpassed cable for the first time. Although there wasn’t a big increase in usage from the prior month, year over year streaming volume was up 22.6%.    

Streaming viewers are following content

Notably, Nielsen’s latest TV snapshot highlighted just how important big name series releases are for streaming platform engagement, as eyeballs were drawn to platforms with highly anticipated debuts.

HBO Max saw a 13.7% spike in usage driven by the release of “Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon,” which pushed its share of TV time to a record 1.2%. Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO already renewed the prequel series for a second season, after the premiere drew in 10 million U.S. viewers across linear and streaming – the largest audience for any new original series in HBO history.

On the other hand, Netflix – which saw its share hit 8% in July – dropped to 7.6% in August as a massive boost from the debut of “Stranger Things” diminished. The hit TV series had attracted nearly 18 billion minutes of viewing for the streamer. According to Nielsen, Netflix usage was down 6.5% in August.

YouTube (which includes virtual MVPD YouTube TV) made notable gains last month, reaching 7.6% of TV viewing itself to tie Netflix for the first time after seeing a 2.8% jump in volume. Nielsen said the YouTube TV service is helping to boost the streamer’s figures, as the vMVPD accounted for just under 12% of all YouTube viewing in the month. Compared to July, YouTube TV saw a nearly 15% jump in usage.

Overall linear streaming – which Nielsen measures as the aggregation of live TV apps offered by both vMVPDs and MVPDs – accounted for 4.2% of last month’s total TV time.

August TV viewing share 2022 snapshot

Cable and broadcast’s August shares also stayed roughly the same since the prior month at 34.5% and 22.1%, respectively. However, the categories saw year-over-year viewership declines of 10.9% for broadcast and 9.4% for cable.

Still, Nielsen indicated that the typical summer TV viewing slowdown could start heating up again soon.

“Given what we know about TV viewing behavior, the August data may reflect the calm before the storm, given the arrival of a new TV season, a new season of the NFL and the race across the MLB to make it into the postseason,” the report stated.