Nielsen: Streaming Reaches 34% Share In February, Linear Continues To Fall

In February -- typically a slower-moving month for TV consumption -- total time watching TV for persons two years of age and up declined 5.1% compared to January, according to Nielsen’s The Gauge measure.

Still, while other major categories fell, streaming platforms continued to pace upwards -- adding 1.5 percentage points from January to a leading 34.3% share of time spent viewing -- another record for the digital video format.

Tubi -- the free, ad-supported streamer -- was added to The Gauge as a separate streaming platform in the month, coming in with a 1% share. It tops competitor Pluto TV's 0.7%. Pluto TV was added to The Gauge in September 2022.

YouTube (not including YouTube TV) was at a 7.9% share -- the largest among all streaming platforms, according to The Gauge.



Broadcast dipped 9.2% from the previous month to a 23.8% share -- as a result of the NFL season ending in the previous month (except for the Super Bowl).

Cable TV viewing dropped 5.7% versus January, to a 30.2% share. Like broadcast, cable suffered due to lower sports viewing -- down 34% in February.

Year-over-year, compared to February 2022, broadcast viewing time was down 8%, while cable TV dropped 14.1%. Streaming was 20% higher compared to a 28.7% share in February 2022.

To more accurately reflect consumer viewing, beginning with the February 2023 period, The Gauge said the viewing that occurs through streaming apps via MVPD and vMVPD will no longer be credited to the streaming category, Nielsen notes.

“Removing MVPD/vMVPD [including YouTube TV, Hulu Live, DirecTV, Charter/Spectrum] viewing from streaming ensures that it is not counted twice, therefore providing a more accurate representation of what audiences are watching,” says Nielsen.

3 comments about "Nielsen: Streaming Reaches 34% Share In February, Linear Continues To Fall".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 16, 2023 at 1:04 p.m.

    Wayne, as you can see, this is a major improvement in the way that Nielsen has been tabulating the data---eliminating double counting for linear content viewed via apps. It's important for those following the trends in these reports to note the change and Nielsen's explanations as well as the new trending data that Nielsen is showing. Streaming content exposure is not down---it just wasn't as large---share-wise---- as  had been reported previously.

  2. Leo Kivijarv from PQ Media replied, March 16, 2023 at 1:19 p.m.

    This is a confusing article given the January chart for comparison which showed streaming was 38.1% of viewing and now it's 34.3% share, which doesn't indicate to me a growth in streaming viewing, regardless of Nielsen's new methdology. Netflix was down from 7.5% to 7.3%, YouTube down from 8.6% to 7l9%, Hulu down from 3.5% to 3.3%. Prime and DIsney up 0.1%, HBO Max, Peacock and Pluto flat. To me, that says that streaming weakened in February when compared with January data. 

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 16, 2023 at 2:31 p.m.

    Leo, I believe that Nielsen is also presenting new trending data based on its revised tabulating method so subscribers can see what the results looked like going back for some months under the new system. That's probably what Wayne is referring to.  Accounting for the double counting of some linear content viewing seems like an improvement to me.

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