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Nielsen finds streaming edges out broadcast viewing, but trails cable

  • Nielsen on Thursday announced a new streaming measurement called "The Gauge," which found that streaming beat broadcast TV -- but just barely, 26% to 25%. "On Thursday, the firm reported that 64 percent of the time American viewers used their television sets in May 2021 was spent watching network and cable TV, while they watched streaming services about 26 percent of the time," reports The New York Times' John Koblin. "Another 9 percent of the time, they were using their TV screens for things like video games or watching programs or films they had saved on DVR. The streaming share is increasing rapidly. It stood at about 20 percent last year, Nielsen said; in 2019, it was about 14 percent. A Nielsen spokesman said that the firm anticipates the streaming share could go up to about 33 percent by the end of the year. Netflix and YouTube are the streaming leaders, the research firm said, with each capturing 6 percent of total TV time. They are trailed by Hulu (3 percent), Amazon (2 percent) and Disney+ (1 percent). Nielsen calls its new metric The Gauge. It comes in addition to its previous method of measuring how many people are watching streaming platforms, which relies on audio-recognition software included in Nielsen devices that are now in 38,000 households across the country. Both metrics measure only what is viewed on television screens and do not count what is watched on phones or laptops." Asked about Nielsen's report, Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings says he was “surprised” that cable and broadcast TV -- known as linear TV -- continued to dominate, but says he didn't expect it to last. “It’s kind of obvious there’s a time frame over which streaming takes over linear,” he says. “At 6 percent per year, it’s not going to be long.”

    TOPICS: Nielsen, Netflix, Reed Hastings