Streaming has continuously broken viewership records in the past few months, but July marked the first time consumption surpassed peak pandemic streaming usage, according to Nielsen’s latest The Gauge monthly snapshot.
Audiences in July watched an average of 190.9 billion minutes of streamed content per week – up from the 169.9 billion minutes per week back in April 2020. Excluding the week of December 27, 2021, Nielsen says the month of July represented the highest volume of streaming weeks on record.
Content-wise, there was a lot to go around last month. Netflix’s spy thriller movie “The Gray Man,” released on July 22, raked in 88.5 million hours viewed the week of July 18. The fourth season of “Stranger Things” maintained high viewership at nearly 75 million hours streamed.
Hulu’s viewing share went up 0.3% since June. According to Nielsen, Hulu’s new season of “Only Murders in the Building” and its debut series “The Bear” garnered 3 billion combined minutes viewed.
Broadcast views, which spiked in June from NHL and NBA playoffs, saw its TV share fall to 21.6% in July. That decrease makes sense, given the traditional broadcast season will only resume in the fall.
What’s more, streaming consumption in July surpassed cable viewing for the first time. Cable views dropped from a 35.1% share in June to 34.4% in July, whereas streaming jumped from 33.7% to 34.8% month to month.
Nielsen noted engagement with cable genres was fairly flat in July, with sports particularly declining 15.4% from June.
But that’s not to say broadcast and cable aren’t receiving any notable views. In its recent earnings call, AMC Networks said its hit series “Better Call Saul” ranked as the third most watched show in key demos for the current broadcast season. The show’s finale, which aired this week, drew 1.85 million viewers for its premiere, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
July’s peak streaming usage is also indicative of how many apps people are using to access content. TiVo’s most recent video trends survey highlighted consumers are using an average of around nine streaming services.
Watching TV in general is seen as a way to destress, a May Philo survey noted. Over half of respondents said they seek “comfort” shows or movies when choosing what to watch.
The Gauge also noted the impact virtual MVPDs and traditional cable TV apps have on TV viewing – representing 11.2% of streaming and 3.9% of total TV usage. Comcast and Charter are gearing up to jointly launch a national streaming platform for smart TVs and 4K streaming devices.