Live Sports, New Releases Saw Streaming Hit Near Record Market Share in January; Prime Video Biggest Riser
January is a bit of an odd month, as far as they go. The holidays are over, and people are still adjusting to writing a new year when they date a document, check, etc. According to newly released data from the TV ratings firm Nielsen, it’s clear that many people across the United States tried to chase away the January funk by streaming TV.
Nielsen’s data shows that streaming claimed a 38.1% market share of all TV watched in the first month of 2023. That made it the most-watched source of video, with cable coming in second at 30.4%. Broadcast TV brought up the rear, with a 24.9% market share.
Among subscription video streamers, Netflix took the top spot at a 7.5% market share, more than double that of the second-place finisher Hulu.
A deeper dive into Nielsen’s numbers show that it was Prime Video that saw the most gains in January. New premieres like the Jennifer Lopez movie “Shotgun Wedding” and the third season of “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” helped the service see a 9.3% increase in usage over December’s numbers. That translates into 0.2 share points, bringing Prime Video’s end-of-month total market share to 2.9%.
It was not, however, a good month for Disney+. That service saw 9.9% less use as compared to December, losing 0.2 share points despite offering new episodes of “Willow” and “National Treasure: Edge of History.” That brings Disney+’s total market share to 1.7%. The numbers suggest that Disney+ Basic, the company’s new ad-supported price plan, is still not gaining the traction Disney executives would like.
Live sports were a big draw across every medium in January, but especially broadcast TV. Sports watching on broadcast TV jumped 55%, thanks to professional football. NFL playoff games accounted for all of the 10 most-watched programs during the month. It wasn’t enough to help cable increase its market share, however, as a 19% decline in holiday movie watching offset the 22% jump that cable saw from live sports in January.
If there’s one big takeaway from January TV viewing trends, it’s that new, in-demand content will always draw a crowd. It will be fascinating to check in on these trends next month, to see what effect popular series like “1923” and “The Last of Us” have had on the market share of Paramount+ and HBO Max. One thing is clear from Nielsen’s numbers, however, not even live sports can stave off the demise of cable for much longer.