Updated Aug 16, 2023 - Economy

Broadcast and cable made up less than 50% of TV usage in July

Share of U.S. TV consumption, by type
Data: Nielsen; Chart: Axios Visuals

Broadcast and cable usage fell below 50% of total TV usage in the U.S. for the first time last month, the lowest linear total to date, according to Nielsen's latest viewership data from its monthly survey, The Gauge.

Why it matters: The lack of major sporting events in July took a toll on traditional TV networks, which still hold the majority of major sports broadcast rights.

  • The one exception was the Women's World Cup, which saw record viewership numbers before the U.S. Women's National Team was eliminated.

By the numbers: Both broadcast and cable saw all-time usage lows last month, per Nielsen.

  • Cable's share specifically fell below 30% for the first time.
  • Streaming, meanwhile, garnered a record 38.7% of total TV usage in July.

What's next: Entertainment giants now need to wrestle with what to do with their linear TV assets, given the increasing pace of cord-cutting in the U.S.

  • Disney CEO Bob Iger made it clear to investors last week that Disney is seriously rethinking its commitment to the traditional TV business and is considering selling its flagship networks, like ABC, FX and National Geographic.
  • Other media firms, like Warner Bros. Discovery, are committed to its cable networks as a profit-driver for now, but they're taking steps to bolster their streaming products for the future.

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