May marked the third consecutive month that streaming has logged record-breaking shares of total TV viewing time.
Streaming’s share hit its highest mark to date, at 31.9%, and also saw its largest month-to-month gain, 1.5 points, as tracked by Nielsen’s monthly viewing snapshot, The Gauge.
That followed shares of 29.7% and 30.4% in March and April, respectively.
Time spent streaming in May increased 2% versus April, boosted in part by end-of-month releases of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” on Disney+ and “Stranger Things” on Netflix. (Disney+ captured 2.5% of total TV viewing on May 27, and Netflix claimed 9.0% on May 28.)
Streaming was the only viewing category to exhibit any month-over-month growth in May, continuing to close the gap on cable's 36.5% share of viewership, and exceeding broadcast's 24.4% share.
Looking at the longer-term trend, streaming’s share of total TV time last month was up by 5.7 points compared to May 2021’s 26.2% share.
Broadcast’s share of total TV time in May was down 1 point compared to May 2021’s 25.4%, and cable’s share was down 3 points compared to May 2021’s 39.5%.
Looking at streaming services’ comparative share performance over the past year, “other” services have continued to grow, moving from an 8% share of total TV time in May 2021 to a 96% share last month.
And despite all of the coverage of its subscriber growth challenges, Netflix’s share of total TV time has been fairly consistent over the 12-month period. YouTube is up by 1 point versus May 2021, and both Hulu and Amazon Prime Video have edged up a bit over the past year.
As for overall TV viewing levels, May is normally the month with the lowest viewing level, so the 2.7% consumption decline seen this May was in line with expectations.
Also in line with historical norms, broadcast and cable viewing both declined in May, each seeing a 3.5% decline in viewing volume.
Dramas continued to claim the largest share of broadcast viewership for the month. Procedural crime dramas, including “NCIS,” “FBI” and “Blue Bloods,” drove about a third of broadcast viewing.
Cable news viewing was down 4.2% versus April, but still claimed cable’s largest time share: 17%. Cable sports viewing was up 7%, and had a 9% cable share. NBA playoff games were the top six most-viewed cable programs in the month.