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Streaming is king, surpassing cable for the first time

TV screen with streaming services
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Streaming holds the top spot for July for TV viewing for the first time.
  • Streaming accounted for 34.8% of TV viewing, with Cable holding 34.4% and broadcast television rounding it out with 21.6%.
  • Netflix had the most minutes spent watching it, with a healthy boost from users spending 18 billion minutes watching Stranger Things.

For the first time, streaming has taken over the top spot for TV viewers in the month of July.

You can enjoy all of your favorite streaming services on some of the best streaming devices out there, and it looks like consumers are doing this more and more. According to Neilsen's Gauge monthly report, streaming accounted for 34.8% of viewers' TV interaction for July. This is the first time streaming has ever held the crown as cable came in second with 34.4% of TV consumption, with broadcast television rounding things out with 21.6%.

You've probably heard the term "cut the cord" implored by streaming services to reel in more users. The trends display people shifting to streaming platforms more and more, and streaming's latest first-place takeover is further evidence. Reports from Nielsen continue to say that streaming usage has gone up 3.2%, while its share points saw a 1.1-point increase.

A part chart breakdown of total TV and streaming watch time.

(Image credit: Nielsen's The Gauge)

The average time spent streaming for July was around 191 billion minutes per week. When it came to the big names in the industry, such as Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and YouTube, Nielsen is reporting that each of those companies saw "record-high shares" again in July. Netflix held the largest share of viewer interest with 8% and was most likely due to Stranger Things attaining a whopping 18 billion viewing minutes.

Last month, cable viewing dropped around 2%. It's being reported that sports are likely one of the significant contributing factors, as it's fallen 15.4% since June and 34% compared to this time a year ago. Viewing for broadcast television is also following a similar route. Nielsen's monthly report says broadcast television's 3.7% decline is most likely due to the lull we have until new seasons and shows begin in September. However, another factor is sports again, as viewing for that has declined 41% since June.

While Netflix held supreme for time spent watching streamed content, Disney Plus is making moves of its own. The company announced that it's launching its ad-supported tier soon, which is set to arrive ahead of Netflix launching its own ad-supported tier. Netflix expects to introduce its ad-supported tier in early 2023, although there may be less content featured on it.

In a recent earnings call, Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings gave a positive spin on the platform's recent subscriber loss, suggesting that the end of linear TV is closer than we might expect. Reed stated that "looking forward, streaming is working everywhere. Everyone is pouring in. It's definitely the end of linear TV over the next five/ten years, so very bullish on streaming."

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.