After falling below half of all TV usage in July, cable and broadcast networks rose above that threshold in August. Streaming, meanwhile, saw its first dip (albeit a small one) in five months.
Linear TV channels fell to 49.6 percent of the ratings in July, the first time since Nielsen began releasing its monthly Gauge reports on TV usage that the two fell below 50 percent. Cable and broadcast networks showed a slight increase in August, with cable accounting for 30.2 percent of TV usage in the United States (up from 29.6 percent a month earlier), while broadcast networks rose slightly from 20 percent in July to 20.4 percent in August.
Nielsen cited unscripted franchises such as NBC’s America has talent and CBS’ Big Brother, along with the NFL preseason, as drivers of the rebound for broadcast networks. Sports and news consumption drove the increase on cable.
Streaming still took up the largest share of TV viewing time of all individual platforms (38.3 percent), but that was down from 38.7 percent in July. The decline was largely due to a large group of streaming-first viewers — children and teens — returning to school in August. According to Nielsen, the decline in streaming viewing among people ages 2 to 17 accounted for 80 percent of the total decline, mirroring a similar gain at the end of the previous school year in June. (Other TV use, including gaming and physical media playback, accounted for the remaining 11.1 percent.)
Despite the monthly dip, the longer trend still shows substantial growth in streaming: a year ago, streaming platforms accounted for 31.3 percent of TV usage, while broadcast and cable together accounted for 56.6 percent.
YouTube (9.1 percent of all TV usage) and Netflix (8.2 percent) remained the two largest individual streaming services. Peacock saw the biggest growth of all streamers, up 8.3 percent from the previous month. thanks to the sports offering and the streaming premiere of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. That didn’t translate into a huge gain in overall TV usage, however, as the NBCUniversal-owned platform rose a tenth of a point to 1.2 percent.
Nielsen’s Gauge rankings for August 2023 are below.
Streaming: 38.3 percent of TV usage
Cable: 30.2 percent
Broadcast: 20.4 percent
Other: 11.1 percent
YouTube: 9.1 percent
Netflix: 8.2 percent
Hulu: 3.6 percent
Prime Video: 3.4 percent
Disney+: 2 percent
Tubi: 1.3 percent
Maximum: 1.3 percent
Peacock: 1.2 percent
Roku Channel: 1.1 percent
Paramount+: 1.1 percent
Pluto TV: 0.9 percent
All others: 5.2 percent