Nielsen: YouTube Becomes Top Streaming Platform, Beating Netflix for the First Time

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(Image credit: YouTube)

NEW YORK—Streaming’s share of TV viewing hit another record-high share in September, capturing 36.9% of overall television usage as YouTube emerged as the most popular streaming platform, beating out Netflix for the first time according to Nielsen's latest report from The Gauge, the media measurement company's monthly total TV and streaming snapshot. 

Broadcast also saw an increase in September with its share of TV climbing to 24.2%, while cable's share dropped to 33.8%. Television usage as a whole was up 2.4% in September compared to August.

The broadcast category showed the largest month-over-month increase with a 12.4% bump in usage in September, which was driven by an impressive 222% uptick in sports viewing, Nielsen reported. 

This led to an additional 2.1 share points for broadcast this month compared to August, its largest share of television since May 2022 when it captured 24.4%. 

But on a yearly basis, broadcast's viewing volume was down 7.1% compared to one year ago, and the category lost 2.1 share points, Nielsen reported. 

Despite a 40% increase in sports viewing, cable usage remained basically flat in September compared to August. However, due to the increases in broadcast and streaming, cable dropped by 0.7 share points to finish September at 33.8%, recording its lowest share to date as reported by The Gauge. Cable's viewing volume declined -9.3% versus September 2021, and the category lost 3.8 share points on a yearly basis.

(Image credit: Nielsen's The Gauge)
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Nielsen also reported that the streaming category added 2.0 share points in September versus August. On a yearly basis, streaming usage increased 34.6% compared to September 2021, and the category gained 9.2 share points.

Making its debut in The Gauge this month is Pluto TV, a free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service. Pluto TV is the first FAST service to cross the 1% share threshold and break out of the "other streaming" category.

Other key developments in the streaming category included: 

  • YouTube (including YouTube TV) achieved a platform-best 8.0% share in September, tying Netflix's July record, and topping all streaming platforms in The Gauge for the first time.
  • Hulu (including Hulu Live) also saw a record-high share with 3.8% of streaming.
  • Amazon Prime Video maintained a 2.9% share, but the success of both The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power and specific Thursday Night Football games drove a +34.7% YoY viewing increase for the platform.
  • HBO Max saw the largest increase in usage (+9.9%) among the reportable platforms, due largely to viewing of House Of The Dragon and Game Of Thrones.
  • Linear streaming on MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors) and vMVPDs (virtual multichannel video programming distributors) represented 5.4% of total television usage and 14.5% of streaming usage in September. Broadcast and cable content viewed through linear streaming apps also credits its respective category.

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.