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Streaming Hits Record TV Viewing Share for 3rd Straight Month

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(Image credit: iStock)

 NEW YORK—In May, streaming viewership accounted for 31.9% of total television consumption, achieving a record-high share for the third consecutive month according to The Gauge, the monthly total TV viewing snapshot from Nielsen. 

The streaming viewing share beat previous records of 30.4% for April and 29.7% for March of 2022. It was also the largest month-to-month increase in share for streaming with a gain of 1.5 share points versus April.

While overall TV usage decreased by 2.7% in May compared to April—a drop that follows typical viewing trends for this time of year—streaming was the only viewing category to exhibit any month-over-month growth in May as it continued to narrow the gap on cable's 36.5% share of viewership, and it exceeded broadcast's 24.4% share.

Time spent streaming increased by 2% versus April, bolstered by the release of new content at the end of the month: “Obi-Wan Kenobi” on Disney+ and Netflix's “Stranger Things”. With the release of these programs, Disney+ captured 2.5% of total TV viewing on May 27, and Netflix claimed 9.0% on May 28.

Broadcast and cable viewing both declined in May, as viewing volume fell 3.5% for each category versus April. The drama genre led with the largest share of broadcast viewership for the month, with procedural crime dramas representing about one-third of broadcast viewing.

While cable news viewing in May was down 4.2% from April, it represented the largest portion of cable's share at 17%. 

Cable sports viewing was up 7% in May and accounted for 9% of the cable share, driven largely by NBA playoff games which were the top six most-viewed cable programs that month.

(Image credit: Nielsen)
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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.