Nielsen: TV Viewing Booms Again in January

(Image credit: Pixabay)

NEW YORK—Nielsen's January 2023 TV viewing summary from The Gauge is reporting heavy TV usage, particularly of sports and broadcast content. That boosted overall viewing by 1.3% compared to December 2022 and helped the broadcast category of content expand its overall share of TV viewing. 

In January, only the broadcast category gained in share compared to December, finishing the month at 24.9% of total TV usage. Broadcast content viewing rose 2.1% in January, led by a 55% jump in sports viewing, and a nearly 30% increase in viewing to the drama genre. Sports accounted for 25.3% of broadcast TV viewing and drama 23.4%. Broadcast sports programming was dominated by the NFL playoffs, which made up the top 10 telecasts for the category in January, Nielsen reported. 

But on a yearly basis, broadcast content viewing was down 6% compared with January 2022.

Viewing to streaming content increased 1.2% compared to December, and the streaming category represented 38.1% of total TV viewing in January. Time spent watching streaming content was up 31.8% in January compared with the year prior, and the category gained 9.2 share points, climbing from 28.9% to 38.1% of total TV usage between January of 2021 and January of 2022, Nielsen said. 

Across the streamers, Amazon Prime Video saw the largest monthly usage increase in January, recording a 9.3% uptick in viewing (+0.2 share pts.) that was driven by its original series, Jack Ryan, and original movie, “Shotgun Wedding”. Hulu saw a 2.9% bump in viewing in January, translating to an additional 0.1 share points compared with December. Viewing to Disney+ content declined 9.9% versus last month (-0.2 share pts.), due, at least in part, to the post-December drop in holiday movie viewing, Nielsen said. 

(Image credit: Nielsen The Gauge)

Broadcast and cable content viewing on MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor) and vMVPD (virtual multichannel video programming distributor) streaming apps represented 5.3% of total television usage and 13.9% of streaming usage in January.

YouTube TV accounted for 14.9% of YouTube viewing (1.3 share points), and Hulu Live made up 9.1% of Hulu viewing (0.3 share points). Broadcast and cable content viewed through MVPD/vMVPD streaming apps also credits the respective broadcast or cable category.

Cable viewing was fairly flat versus December, dropping 0.3% to end the month with a 30.4% share of TV. Cable sports viewing jumped 22% in January, but viewing to the feature film genre—which had been up in November and December—saw a 19% decline. Cable news viewing experienced another dip (-4%), but remains the most-watched cable genre. On a year-over-year basis, time spent watching cable content declined 14.6%, Nielsen reported.

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.