Overall U.S. TV viewing declined in March — as did overall streaming time — but streaming’s share of that viewing time rose to a new high of nearly 30%, according to Nielsen’s The Gauge report for the month.
Total TV usage dropped by 4.2% — consistent with historical patterns as the weather turns warmer, according to Nielsen.
Overall streaming time dipped 0.7%, but individual major streaming services’ shares were either flat or slightly up during the month (chart above). Those services’ shares have fluctuated only slightly since January.
“Other” streamers — various smaller and specialty services including Crackle, Spectrum, DirecTV and Sling TV — continued to edge up in share, collectively claiming 9.8% in March versus 9.5% in February and 9.4% in January.
Despite the dip in total TV viewing, cable TV saw a slight gain in viewing time, and its share rose 1.5 points versus February, to 36.9%. Nielsen attributes this largely to viewers turning to cable for news of the war in Ukraine.
Broadcast programming lost more than a full share point —declining to 24.9% in March versus 26% in February —with sports viewing down 53% on a month-over-month basis.
Even with NCAA tournament and NASCAR viewing in March, the sports event programming’s share of viewing fell from nearly 25% in February — when viewership was elevated by the Olympics and the Super Bowl —t o 12% in March.
However, dramas saw a 17% increase in viewing time, driving their share to one-third of total broadcast viewing.