NEW YORK—The war in Ukraine boosted cable news viewing in March, which allowed cable to increase its share of total TV viewing by 1.6 percentage points to a 36.9% viewing share. Cable news viewing was up 14% from February and accounted for 21% of the cable share, driven by continuing news coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war, according to The Gauge, the monthly total TV and streaming snapshot from Nielsen.
Total viewing declined in the month by 4.5%, with total streaming viewing also dropping slightly in March by 0.7% from February. However streaming captured its largest share of total television usage ever in March, making up nearly 30% of overall viewing time.
Nielsen also reported that the "Other Streaming" subset, which includes any high-bandwidth video streaming on TV that is not individually broken out, increased its share by 0.3%. This is notable because it indicates more streaming platforms continue to gain traction.
Broadcast viewing was down 1.1 share points in March compared to February, impacted by a 53% decrease in sports viewing compared to the high viewing numbers from the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl in February.
Drama programming stood out as the genre of choice for many broadcast consumers in March, increasing viewership by 17% from February and accounting for one-third of broadcast's share. While broadcast news consumption remained relatively flat at 14% of broadcast viewing, the volume of broadcast news programming dropped 6% versus the prior month.
Netflix led the streamers, with a 6.6% share of TV viewing, followed by YouTube (6.0%) and Hulu (3.3%).
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.
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