Linear TV Grows Without Sports, Netflix Also Higher

Sports on TVhas incredible viewership and value for advertisers. Yet, recently, big linear TV viewing has come from non live sports TV content.

What’s up with that?

A pandemic -- with shut-in viewers -- will do that to you. Instead, we have pressing news/information, as well as a dab of scripted comedy and drama relief -- as draws.

Yes, we realize live sports has a supply issue -- save for a few horse races, and esports gaming events, football, basketball and auto racing, among them.

From March 15 to April 15, Nielsen says linear TV viewership is up 35% year over year. Nice -- especially with all the declines  usage linear TV has seen over the years. And you know the story about streaming, an even bigger deal, now up 115% over that same period.

Nielsen says the streaming share of TV viewing is now at 24% -- up from a 15% share a year ago over the same period. “It still has a long way to go,” says Todd Juenger, media analyst from Bernstein Research.



So consider Netflix -- which has seen growing usage. In particular, because sports TV is an area Netflix has pretty much ruled out on its platform.

Netflix has a 33% share of the streaming market -- easily topping all premium streamers. It is emboldened, due to the COVID-19 crisis. “The longer the stay-at-home COVID period lasts, the stronger that advantage gets for Netflix, especially from a content availability perspective,” says Juenger.

Even with new competitors afoot (Disney+, Apple TV + and Quibi) and more to come (HBO Max in May, Peacock in July), Netflix has been strong in dominating all top 10 viewing of streaming TV series, according to Nielsen, for the last three of four weeks.

Only during the first week of the health crisis, did Amazon’s “Hunters” break up Netflix’s total domination (a 7th place position).

Netflix, says Juenger, has had impeccable timing -- as well as an “immensely valuable-at-the-moment benefit of having the production activity take place much farther in advance.”

Now you know why Netflix -- in addition to the obvious -- has seen rising share prices -- even with the recent stock-market crash.

All this without a pigskin, basketball, yard-marker, putter, race course, hockey stick, home run, or three-pointer in sight.

1 comment about "Linear TV Grows Without Sports, Netflix Also Higher".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 30, 2020 at 11:21 a.m.

    Wayne, unless Nielsen has changed the way it has been reporting on streaming, the base is homes that can stream in its panel----not all TV homes. Hence that 24% figure is probably equal to around 19% against all households---depending on how you define streaming versus non-streaming homes.

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