Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Streaming now accounts for nearly 20% of television consumption for most Americans, almost doubling since 2018, a new report from Nielsen shows.

Why it matters: The data shows how quickly consumers are flocking to streaming as a replacement or complement to traditional TV.

Details: Per the report, Netflix accounts for a whopping 31% of streaming time — the largest share of any service — followed by YouTube (21%), Hulu (12%) and Amazon Prime (8%).

  • To no surprise, younger consumers aged 18-34 are most likely to subscribe to several streaming services, and spend the most amount of their TV time streaming.
  • But the vast majority (87%) of older adults 65 years and older subscribe to at least one streamer as well, per the study, demonstrating a societal shift in how television is consumed.

Be smart: Nearly half of U.S. viewers subscribe to three or more steaming services, and that number could increase as streaming becomes even more popular.

  • While one study has suggested that the average American is willing to pay around $42 monthly for streaming services, Nielsen found most consumers (93%) are willing to increase the amount of streaming services they pay for, or at the very least, keep the ones they currently have.
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Total Audience Report Reproduced from The Nielsen Total Audience Report, February 2020; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: Last year saw one of the sharpest increases in cord-cutting ever, with almost 1.5 million video subscribers from the four biggest pay-TV providers cutting the cord, according to senior media analyst Michael Nathanson.

  • That's roughly 300,000 worse than what was expected and roughly 700,000 worse than the previous year.
  • A majority of U.S. households (73%) now have access to an internet-connected video device where they can stream video, per Nielsen, making it easier for users to find a video alternative once they do finally cut the cord.

Yes, but: As more streaming platforms emerge to compete for consumers' attention and budgets, the burden is falling on consumers to navigate an overwhelming number of streaming choices.

  • More than 646,000 shows were available in the U.S. across both linear and streaming services last year, a 10% increase from all of 2018, per the study.

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