Take a wild guess: What percentage of all monthly TV consumption time is spent watching content on Netflix, the king of all the streamers
The answer, according to Nielsen, is so much smaller: Six percent of TV viewing by American adults happens via Netflix. Another 6% happens via YouTube. Hulu accounts for 3%, Amazon Prime Video for 2%, and Disney+ for 1%. All types of streaming add up to 26% of the American TV diet, about the same as broadcast TV, which accounts for 25%. Cable TV is 39% of all TV consumption. A 9% sliver of “other” viewing, including VOD and DVD players, rounds out the pie.
My takeaway: Streaming might take up three fourths of the media world’s attention, but right now it’s only one fourth of viewership time. Streaming might eventually cannibalize everything, but that day is a long way away. But maybe you had the opposite takeaway — perhaps the streaming portion of the pie is bigger than you expected!
Nielsen as “referee”
Per Nielsen, streaming’s share was around 14% in 2019, around 20% in 2020, and is at 26% now, so that’s what Hastings meant by 6% per year…
Hastings and Kilar
“The Gauge” doesn’t tell us anything about the performance of individual shows or movies. And streaming services don’t tell us much, either. So there’s still a lack of visibility into the industry’s decisions. But the dearth of data also makes every occasional glimpse, like “The Gauge,” more important.
Active versus passive
Nielsen’s pie chart showcases the difference between active and passive viewership, in my humble opinion. Most streaming consumption is active, meaning, people are choosing a particular episode to watch at a specific time that works for them. Some broadcast and cable TV consumption is active too, but a greater proportion is passive, meaning, people turn it on and watch whatever’s happening. They might leave it on for hours or casually flip between a few favored channels. My gut says that the average family wants both: Sometimes they want to lean in and pick a show (I’m still way behind on “The Handmaid’s Tale”) and other times they want to turn on CNN and leave it on. This is why “The Gauge” is useful: Nielsen is providing a holistic view of a typical TV diet…