Streaming Viewership Nears 1/3 of TV Market, Closes in on Cable
April highlighted another winning streak for streaming as viewership rose to command 30.4% of the TV viewing market share, according to Nielsen’s monthly viewing snapshot, The Gauge. While pandemic fears continue to wane, April’s overall TV viewership dropped by 2.1%, but streaming kept a steady pace that increased its share by over 6% month-over-month. Up from its previous peak of 29.7% in March, streaming continues to make inroads in its effort to push out cable as the primary way to consume media.
With an increase in popularity, consumers are gravitating towards a host of newer platforms, and more established brands continue to make gains in the streaming ecosystem. For the first time, HBO Max has grabbed a 1.0% market share, propelling it out of the “Other Streaming” category to stand on its own. Previously lumped in with the multitude of other services, HBO Max has managed to stand out with unique offerings such as the much-anticipated third season of dark comedy “Barry” and the crime drama “We Own This City” from the creators of “The Wire.”
Nielsen attributes this recent rise in streaming to the changing service landscape brought on by the pandemic. As broadcast viewership sheds viewers, Nielsen’s State of Play report indicates that the level of choice offered by a plethora of platforms may force media companies to focus on a streaming-first initiative in the future.
The loss in broadcast viewership is most evident in the drama and sports genres, which saw drops of 14.7% and 38.2% respectively, resulting in an overall decrease of 3%. Cable is not faring much better as April shows a 2.5% loss of market share even with a 17% bump thanks to the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament finals and the race to the NHL and NBA playoffs. Sports have long been the cornerstone that pay-TV has built its bundles on, but as streaming services begin to invest more heavily into the space, it could be more difficult for broadcast, cable, and satellite to count on sports fans to keep their services afloat.