After slipping below half of all TV use in July, cable and broadcast networks moved back above that threshold in August. Streaming, meanwhile, had its first dip (albeit a small one) in five months.
Linear TV outlets slipped to 49.6 percent of viewing in July, the first time since Nielsen began releasing its monthly Gauge reports on TV use that the two fell below 50 percent. Cable and broadcast each trended up a little in August, with cable accounting for 30.2 percent of TV usage in the United States (vs. 29.6 percent a month earlier), while broadcast networks edged up from 20 percent in July to 20.4 percent in August.
Nielsen cited unscripted franchises like NBC’s America’s Got Talent and CBS’ Big Brother, along with the NFL preseason, as drivers of the uptick for broadcast networks. Sports and news consumption drove the increase on cable.
Streaming still commanded the biggest share of TV viewers’ time among any individual platform (38.3 percent), but that was down from 38.7 percent in July. The decline was due overwhelmingly to the fact that a large cohort of streaming-first viewers — kids and teenagers — began returning to school in August. Per Nielsen, the drop in streaming viewing among people aged 2-17 accounted for 80 percent of the overall 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 made up 31.3 percent of TV use, while broadcast and cable combined for 56.6 percent.
YouTube (9.1 percent of all TV use) and Netflix (8.2 percent) remained the top two individual streaming services. Peacock had the most growth of any streamer, rising 8.3 percent over last month. thanks to its sports offerings and the streaming premiere of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. That didn’t translate to a huge gain in share of total TV use, 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 use
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
Max: 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