Nielsen: Broadcast TV Slips to 26% of Total Viewing in Feb. 2022

(Image credit: Pixabay)

NEW YORK—Nielsen’s monthly snapshot of total TV viewing for February 2022 found that sports viewing drove broadcast TV to a higher weekly share of viewing in the first week of February and that the war in Ukraine produced a spike in cable and broadcast TV news viewing. 

Overall, however, broadcast TV’s share of total viewing declined slightly from 26.4% in January of 2022 to 26.0%, while while cable TV’s share held steady at 36.4% (versus 36.5% in January) and streaming garnered a 28.7% share of total viewing (versus 28.9% in January).

Nielsen’s The Gauge for February of 2022 found that cable viewing increased 54% during the last week of February, as interest in the war in Ukraine helped news gain one-fourth of all cable consumption, representing a 16.5% overall month to month increase. Comparatively, broadcast news increased by 6% in the final week of the month, elevating the genre to the second-largest behind drama.

The new Nielsen data also showed that broadcast television gained its highest weekly share of viewing since October 2021 at 28.7% in the first week of February, primarily off the heels of a compelling Super Bowl, which accounted for 39% of total broadcast viewership during the week of February 7. 

Overall sports programming viewership increased during the Winter Olympics, capturing 20% and 23% of total broadcast usage during the weeks of February 1 and February 14, respectively. 

Despite the sports-induced broadcast viewership increase seen in February, total television viewing was down 5.7% from January, below the 5% average decrease over the past five years.

The "Other" category—which is reflective of video game usage—gained almost a full share point due to increased time consumers spent gaming during the Presidents' Day holiday and other winter breaks in the U.S. 

Among the streamers, Netflix led with 6.6%, followed by YouTube (5.7% share) and Hulu (3.0%).

More data is available here.


(Image credit: Nielsen)
George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.