As Nielsen releases its monthly snapshot for September, there’s no real news in the ‘reveal’ that streaming networks remain the TV-system of choice for viewers currently. However, we do see an interesting upward trend from broadcast networks all the same. Resident expert and entertainment attorney from Blake & Wang P.A, Brandon Blake, dives deeper into some of the key takeaways from the monthly list.
Pluto TV Takes Surprising Spot
Intriguingly, we also see Pluto TV take an odd record, as it becomes the first free, ad-supported TV, or FAST, streaming service to make its way onto Nielsen’s list. It does this by claiming a total ‘share point’ in their covered TV services, meaning it accounted for at least 1% of all TV use recorded through the month.
Streaming platforms overall inched forward by almost 2%, taking 36.9% of total viewership for the month. This is a jump from August’s 35%. One of these point shifts comes from the ‘other’ category, which covers physical media, gaming, and other small-time TV viewing. It’s also the third consecutive month that streaming services have led all platform types. Hulu and YouTube have climbed to all-time record numbers over the year and 2 months they’ve been released in the Gauge rankings. They take 8% (YouTube) and 3.8% (Hulu) respectively.
This could, of course, be partially due to Nielsen’s recent alteration of how streaming platforms are measured. It has recently included a ‘live plus seven-day’ viewing metric for streamers, where previously there was only live. It’s worth remembering that linear streaming via satellite and cable apps, as well as platforms like Hulu+ Live and YouTube TV, is also counted.
Looking at top performing services, Prime Video netted 2.9%. This is about the same as we saw last month, but a rather notable 35% jump from September 2021. This comes mostly off of the back of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, although Thursday Night Football takes some of the acclaim too. HBO Max continues to improve, making it to 1.3%. Again, the eagerly anticipated House of the Dragon and its surprising boost to the older Game of Thrones franchise helps prop up these new numbers.
The Broadcast Comeback
While it wasn’t enough to unseat streaming from the top title, broadcast networks brought in 24.2% of TV usage, a noted gain from the 22.1% of August. Much of this can be attributed to the early-September sports starts, notably college football and the NFL. However, the start of the traditional 2022-2023 network TV season in September will also have helped.
Cable, however, slipped from August’s 34.5% to 33.8%, although (technically at least) viewing hours held steady between the months- streaming and broadcast simply outperformed them. The nebulous ‘other’ category rounds out the remaining 5.1% of TV usage.
Overall, it’s an interesting and positive spread, with a number of key takeaways to mull over. Seeing a FAST streaming service enter the fray is certainly notable, as is the small uptick from broadcast, proving once again that live sports (and the ability to stream it) may be one of the key remaining battlegrounds in the streaming vs broadcast battle.