Sling TV's Top Shows Highlight Streaming Consumption Preferences

While streaming multichannel video providers like Sling TV offer many of the same channels found on traditional linear TV packages, streaming viewers may not be watching streaming TV in the same way.

That is one takeaway from Sling TV’s list of its top shows of 2018, highlighting the most-watched and DVRed programming on the streaming service this year.

Netflix has created the era of binge-viewing, in which consumers will watch multiple episodes of a show, one after another. That existed in the linear world with marathons, but with on-demand programming, consumers can choose to create their own.

So what did Sling subscribers binge watch? Lifestyle programs and lighthearted comedies.

The most-binged show was HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” followed by “The Big Bang Theory,” “Family Guy,” “House Hunters” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”



Sling’s data also showed its subscribers used its cloud DVR feature primarily to catch up on live programming they may have missed. The most DVRed shows list was dominated by live programming: “A&E’s “Live PD” led the pack, followed by “Walking Dead,” coverage of the FIFA world Cup, “WWE Monday Night Raw” and “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

There is some overlap with traditional linear viewership. The list of live events that were the most-watched on the service is dominated by sports, with College Football Championship games placing first, second and fourth. Midterm election night coverage placing third, and an NBA Playoffs game placing fifth.

Still, there was no NFL or Winter Olympics on Sling’s list, despite the service carrying both NBC and Fox. Those programs topping Nielsen’s list for most-watched programming this year.

Streaming video is an interesting beast. While the channels offered by services like Sling, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV are the same as a cable or satellite carrier, consumption is different. With Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the standard tiers of Hulu focused on entertainment programming, Sling’s list suggests consumers are turning to these services for live programming, and shows that aren’t widely available on SVOD competitors.

One caveat: with packages splintering what channels are available, the most popular shows on streaming may not necessarily reflect the most popular shows for linear TV.

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