Streaming soars to record highs in June, hitting nearly 40% of television usage

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The latest edition of Nielsen’s The Gauge report shows streaming at all-time highs, making up a record 37.7% of overall TV usage in June 2023, outpacing cable content viewing at 30.6% and broadcast content viewing at 20.8%.

This marked shift in television usage can be attributed to the growing popularity of streaming services among younger audiences. In June, TV usage among the 2-11 and 12-17 age groups saw significant increases of 16.3% and 24.1%, respectively, compared to May. Unconventional TV options, such as streaming and video gaming, accounted for 90% of the uptick across both groups.

June also saw an increase in total TV usage, marking a 2.2% rise from May – the first monthly upswing since January. This trend was predominantly driven by the higher availability of young viewers during the summer months.

Streaming via television rose by 5.8% in June compared to May, with viewers from the 2-17 age group contributing to more than half of this growth. This dominance of streaming over conventional TV forms mirrors a similar pattern from July 2021, when cable held a comparable share of 37.7%. The highest share to date was recorded in June 2021, when cable usage accounted for 40.1% of overall TV viewing.

The report also shone a spotlight on new entrants in the industry.

Paramount+, the latest service to be independently reported in The Gauge, captured 1.0% of overall TV viewing in June. The debut was bolstered by the original series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” which raked in nearly 1 billion viewing minutes.

In a sign of the changing landscape, both YouTube and Netflix achieved their largest shares to date, accounting for 8.2% and 8.8% of TV viewing, respectively. Tubi also saw a surge in usage, rising 12.1% to reach a share of 1.4% and maintain its status as the leading Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) service in The Gauge.

Despite the rapid growth in streaming, traditional television is not going unnoticed.

NBA-related programming saw increased traction in both cable and broadcast formats. The Conference Finals were the most viewed programs on cable for the month, while the NBA Finals helped broadcast viewership increase by 31.7% in the sports viewing category.

However, despite these positive signs, traditional forms of viewing are generally in decline. Broadcast content viewership dropped 6.6% in June, accounting for a record low of 20.8% of overall TV consumption. Meanwhile, cable usage, despite witnessing a slight increase in June (+0.4% vs May), lost 0.6 share points, largely due to increased competition from streaming services and overall TV usage.

On a year-over-year basis, broadcast viewing was down by 5.6%, losing 1.6 share points, and cable viewing dropped by 11.6%, shedding 4.6 share points.

Nielsen’s Gauge offers a comprehensive perspective on the evolving content consumption landscape. By harnessing data from real, geographically diverse panels, The Gauge provides a robust snapshot of what, when, and by whom content is being watched. As the balance continues to shift towards streaming, such insights will be vital for the industry to understand and adapt