Nielsen: TV Viewing Drops in February
Total TV viewing was down 5% compared to January; Tubi achieved 1% share of TV usage for the first time
NEW YORK—Time spent watching TV fell 5.1% from January to February, as often happens this time of year after the end of the NFL football season, according to The Gauge, Nielsen's monthly visualization of total TV and streaming consumption in the U.S.
This year’s decline for February was nearly the same as the 5.7% decline observed over the same period in 2022. While usage fell across each of the primary TV formats this month, streaming was least impacted and decreased less than 1% versus January, while viewing to broadcast fell by 9.2% and cable content saw viewing decline by 5.7%.
As a result of declining viewing, the streaming category was the only sector to exhibit any growth in share (+1.5 pts.) versus January to finish the month at 34.3% share of overall TV usage, a record, Nielsen reported.
Among the streaming platform highlights this month, Tubi TV achieved a 1.0% share of total TV for the first time in February, making it the 9th streaming platform to reach this threshold and thus be broken out in The Gauge. YouTube (not including YouTube TV) accounted for nearly 8% of overall TV usage in February and captured the largest share among streaming platforms in The Gauge.
The 9.2% monthly decline in viewing to broadcast content in February was driven by a nearly 65% drop in broadcast sports viewing due to the conclusion of the NFL season, and contributed to a loss of 1.1 share points for the category. Compared with February 2022, broadcast content viewing was down about 8%, and the category lost 2.2 share points.
Cable viewing decreased 5.7% versus January, which led to a loss of 0.2 share points to end the month with a 30.2% share of TV. Cable sports viewing declined over 34% in February despite events like the NFL Pro Bowl and NBA All Star Game. Cable news viewing rose slightly (2.4%) versus January, driven by activity around the State of the Union Address, and the genre remains the most-watched of the category, making up 18.6% of cable. On a year-over-year basis, time spent watching cable content declined 14.1% and the category has lost 5.1 share points, Nielsen said.(opens in new tab)
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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.