Comprehending how viewers engage with and encounter regional television is paramount in effectively connecting with the appropriate individuals when it matters and delivering suitable content. With TV viewership statistics, you get to know your audience better.

Reliable measurement solutions are imperative for local broadcasters and agencies to precisely understand their audience’s viewing habits, encompassing the when, where, frequency, and preferred platform for their consumption.

Here are the top five most recent data revealing most people’s preferences regarding TV shows and streaming platforms.

TV viewership statistics

1. TV Usage Dropped at 5.1% in February.

We can talk a lot about how TV usage changes with the seasons. In February, how people watched TV followed the usual patterns, with a 5.1% drop in TV usage compared to the previous month, according to Nielsen. This local TV viewership stat matches what we expect this time of year. It’s a reminder that what people watch on TV directly relates to what they like.

Only a few popular shows appealed to a broader audience in February than in January. It resulted in fewer people watching broadcast, cable, and streaming TV. January is usually a big month for TV watching, especially with the end of the NFL season, which sets high expectations.

2. Streaming Platforms Gained 1.5 Points to 34.3% of TV Usage.

In February, viewers had plenty of content choices, particularly on streaming platforms. Primetime TV viewership rose because of these options. These platforms introduced various new shows and movies, such as Disney+’s addition of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

Consequently, streaming platforms remained the preferred choice for TV viewers, even though the overall streaming viewership decreased by 0.9% compared to January—the smallest decline among different categories. Despite this decrease, streaming still grew in popularity, capturing 1.5 more percentage points to 34.3% of total TV usage.

According to Nielsen, notable streaming highlights from February included:

  • “New Amsterdam” became the most-watched streaming program, accumulating 4.6 billion minutes of TV viewership data on both Netflix and Peacock.
  • “The Last of Us” ranked the second most-watched program, amassing 4.4 billion viewing minutes on HBO Max.
  • YouTube’s central platform experienced a 2.5% increase in viewership.
  • The release of a new season of “You” on Netflix led to 4.2 billion viewing minutes, yet the platform’s overall usage declined by 6.7%.

3. Traditional Broadcast and Cable TV Declined to 9.2% and 5.7%, respectively.

Relatively, broadcast sports viewing saw a drastic 64.7% drop in average TV viewership after the NFL playoffs ended in January, leaving only the Super Bowl as a significant event.

Despite a 3.6% uptick in drama viewing and a 6.8% increase in sitcom viewing, it couldn’t compensate for the loss. Similarly, while cable news viewing increased by 2.4% due to the State of the Union address, it couldn’t make up for the substantial 34.6% decrease in sports viewing.

4. Kids Ages 2 to 17 Drive TV Usage in June to 90%.

As the school year ended and kids closed their books, TV viewership patterns in June started to shift after four months of lower activity that began in February due to seasonal changes. For children Aged 2 to 17, streaming and video gaming offered a refreshing break from school routines, resulting in a 2.2% rise in total TV usage across all age groups.

Within the 2-17 age group, unconventional TV options contributed to 90% of the increased usage. Among kids aged 2-11, their TV time grew by 16.3%, while kids aged 12-17 spent 24.1% more time watching TV compared to May.

TV viewership stats showed that for kids aged 2-11, streaming accounted for 62% of the rise in usage, and another 30% came from “other” sources, primarily video game console usage. The increased time was almost evenly divided in the 12-17 age group, with 43% attributed to streaming and 46% to other sources.

4. Adults from Age 18 Saw a Decrease of 0.3% in Watching TV.

As the summer break began for kids in July, their influence on TV usage remained significant. Although overall TV usage saw a slight uptick of 0.2% from June, TV viewership among individuals under 18 increased by 4%, while adults aged 18 and above experienced a decrease of 0.3%.

These patterns led to heightened streaming and “other” usage, primarily attributed to video game consoles.

5. Streaming TV Usage Continued to Increase in July at 38.7%.

A variety of fresh, original programs debuted on streaming platforms in July, including shows like “The Witcher” and “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Jack Ryan” on Prime Video, and “The Bear.” However, it was the acquired content that stood out during the month.

“Suits,” available on Peacock and Netflix, and “Bluey” on Disney+ were the most-watched programs in July, accumulating 23 billion linear TV viewership minutes.

Notably, “Suits” set new viewing records for acquired titles, garnering nearly 18 billion minutes. Altogether, this significant viewing activity propelled streaming’s TV share to a new high of 38.7%, with platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube all achieving record-high viewership levels.

6. In July, Traditional Linear TV Usage Fell Below 50% Share.

It’s the first time it happened, marking a significant milestone. Recent TV viewership data show that broadcast TV, with a 20% share, and cable TV, with a 29.6% share, reached new low points. Combining these figures resulted in a 49.6% share for linear TV, based on Nielsen’s “The Gauge” metric, which measures all-day viewing for individuals aged two and above.

7. Cable TV’s Share Slipped Below 30% for the First Time, Down from its 34.4% Share a Year Ago.

Comparatively, linear TV viewership held a combined share of 51.4% in June 2023, as opposed to 57.5% in June 2022 and 63.6% in June 2021. These numbers illustrate the steady decline in traditional TV viewership over time.

In July, three streaming platforms saw their highest usage —YouTube at 9.2%, Netflix at 8.5%, and Amazon Prime Video at 3.4%.

Tubi TV from Fox Corp led among Free Advertising Supported Television (FAST) services, increasing by 12.1% to reach a 1.4% share, according to Nielsen. It’s now tied with Max from Warner Bros. Discovery.

Tubi’s average TV viewership share is higher than that of NBCUniversal’s Peacock (1.2%) and Paramount Global’s Paramount+ (1.0%). The “Other Streaming” category, which includes smaller individual streaming platforms (excluding virtual pay-TV providers), remained unchanged at 5.1% compared to June 2023.

TV viewership statistics

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