The broadcast category was the driver of an overall gain of 1.3% in overall TV usage last month compared to December, 2022, according to The Gauge, Nielsen’s monthly report of TV and streaming usage.

Streaming content increased 1.2% compared to December and represented 38.1% of total TV viewing. Time spent watching streamed content increased 31.8% compared to the year-ago quarter. The category’s share points rose from 28.9% to 38.1% compared to January, 2022.

The cable category was second after streaming with 30.4% of TV usage, a drop of 0.3% compared to December. Cable sports viewing was up 22% in January. Viewing of feature films slipped 19%. Cable news viewing was down 4%, but still is the most-watched cable genre. Time spent watching cable content declined 14.6% on a year-over-year basis.

Broadcast and cable content viewing on multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) and virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) streaming apps was 5.3% of television usage and 13.9% of streaming usage in January.

YouTube TV represented 14.9% of YouTube viewing (1.3 share points) and Hulu Live constituted 9.1% of Hulu viewing (0.3 share points), according to The Gauge.  

The broadcast category – the only one that gained in shared compared to the previous month – was at 24.9% of TV usage. That was a 2.1% increase over December. That can be attributed to the NFL playoffs, which were a main contributor to a 55% jump in sports viewing, with playoff games the top ten telecast events of the month.  There also was a 30% increase in the drama genre. Sports and drama accounted for 25.3% and 23.4% of the broadcast content consumption, respectively. Broadcast was down 6% compared to January 2022, however.

The streaming providers had mixed results. Amazon Prime Video had the largest monthly usage increase in January (9.3%, which translates to 0.2 share points). The driver was the Jack Ryan series and the original movie, Shotgun Wedding. Hulu was up 2.9%, a gain of 0.1 share points compared to December. On the down side, Disney+ declined 9.9% (-0.2 share pts.), which to some extent can be attributed to the fading of holiday movie viewing.

Streaming presents a challenge to rural broadband providers. An academic paper from Roslyn Layton, PhD and Petrus Potgieter, PhD. released in 2021 found that network costs related to streaming represent as much as 94% of their network costs to providers in these areas.

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