Streaming accounts for 35% of watching, we think more.

Nielsen’s latest report from The Gauge, the media measurement company’s monthly total TV and streaming snapshot, revealed that streaming usage represented 35 percent of overall television consumption in the US in August, marking another record-high share for the format and its second month as the top TV viewing category. Broadcast and cable each gained in August as well, with shares at 22.1 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively.

Although total time spent watching TV in August was down slightly compared to July, broadcast, cable, and streaming each saw an increase in share compared to the prior month, largely at the expense of the ‘other’ category. Broadcast was the only format to gain in viewing volume in August versus July (+1.6 percent), while cable and streaming remained fairly flat over the same interval (-0.4 percent and -0.1 percent, respectively).

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Broadcast’s 1.6 percent increase in viewing volume translated to an incremental +0.5 share points in August, its first month without a decline since January 2022. This was driven by an 11 percent viewing bump in the ‘general variety’ genre, which includes shows like Big Brother, and a 3 percent increase in sports content viewing which was due in part to the MLB Field of Dreams game, several NFL preseason games, and the return of college football. Compared to one year ago, broadcast’s viewing volume was down -10.9 percent in August and the category lost -2.4 share points.

Cable’s share of TV was up +0.1 share points to 34.5 percent in August compared to July despite monthly usage remaining fairly flat. The category tracked a 27.4 percent increase in sports viewing, led by NFL preseason games on ESPN and the NFL Network, in addition to the NASCAR Cup Series on USA Network. Also notable was the 13 percent increase in cable news viewing—cable’s most-watched genre which makes up 19.3 percent of cable viewing. Compared to one year ago, cable’s viewing volume was down -9.4 percent in August and declined -3 share points.

While streaming gained +0.2 share points in August, coming in at 35 percent total share, streaming viewing was flat compared to July. High-profile content on individual streaming platforms drove a number of shifts this month:

  • HBO Max recorded a 13.7 percent increase in viewing volume and a record-high 1.2 percent share, a lift led by the release of HBO’s House of the Dragon.
  • Viewing of Netflix’s Stranger Things steadily declined in August, leading to a 6.5 percent drop in usage and loss of -0.5 share points, bringing the streaming platform to 7.6 percent share of TV—only exceeded by Netflix’s shares recorded in June and July 2022.
  • Time spent watching YouTube increased 2.8 percent in August and gained +0.3 share points, tying Netflix’s share for the first time at 7.6 percent of total TV. YouTube TV viewing, which is included in YouTube’s share of television, increased 14.9 percent in August compared to July and represented 11.9 percent of YouTube usage.

Compared to one year ago, streaming consumption was up +22.6 percent in August, representing a gain of 6.8 share points.

Linear Streaming, including live TV apps offered by MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors such as Charter/Spectrum and DirecTV apps) and vMVPDs (virtual multichannel video programming distributors such as YouTube TV, Hulu Live), is included in the streaming category and represents 4.2 percent of total television usage. Broadcast and cable content viewed through linear streaming apps also credit its respective category.

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