Aug 18, 2022 - Technology

Streaming surpasses cable as top way to consume TV

Share of total TV consumption, by type
Data: Nielsen; Chart: Axios Visuals

Streaming has officially topped cable as the most popular method by which Americans consume television content, according to new data from Nielsen.

Why it matters: Just as cable's victory over broadcast ushered in waves of change to U.S. media, streaming's rise will continue to bring new businesses and cultural forces to the fore.

Details: Streaming now makes up more than one-third of all television consumption in the U.S., according to data from Nielsen's monthly Gauge study of TV consumption.

  • Netflix continues to be the top streaming platform, taking 7.7% of total share of TV consumption in July. YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ increased their share of viewing time last month to 7.3%, 3% and 1.8%, respectively, while HBO Max held steady at 1%.

Yes, but: Traditional TV, which includes both cable and broadcast consumption, still collectively makes up the majority of TV viewing in the U.S., for now.

  • But if the rate of these categories' decline continues, streaming could very well surpass traditional television as the primary way Americans consumer TV content in the next few years.
  • While the total amount of TV consumption has remained consistent in the past year, the amount that Americans have streamed has increased 22.6%, compared to declines in cable and broadcast of 8.9% and 9.8%, respectively.

What to watch: With more live sports rights moving to streaming, that trend seems likely. Nielsen noted that sports viewing drove the biggest decline for cable.

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