The tectonic plates of TV viewing have shifted once again, with the number of people streaming surpassing those with cable for the first time in July.
The long-anticipated event was documented by measurement specialists Nielsen for The Gauge, a monthly snapshot of viewing habits. In the process streaming has captured its largest share of TV viewing to date, indicating that a pandemic-powered boom is far from over.
Throughout the month streaming accounted for 34.8% of all views, leaving cable and broadcast television looking over its shoulders with shares of 34.4% and 21.6% respectively.
Streaming numbers rose 3.2% in July versus a month earlier, more than enough to eclipse cable, which slumped -2% on the back of a collapse in sports viewing of -15.4% from June and -34% from a year ago when the Summer 2020 Olympics were under way.
Illustrating the scale of the shift, 191bn minutes per week were clocked up by streamers in July, with each of the five measurement weeks for the month accounting for five in six of the highest-volume streaming weeks on record.
Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube led the streaming charge in July, with big beast Netflix drawing an 8% share of overall TV viewing – largely on the back of Stranger Things, which generated 18bn viewing minutes.
Broadcast viewing was off 3.7% in July versus June, although this was attributed to the summer lull in new content while people make the most of warmer weather and later nights.
The figures confirm the ascendancy of streaming as the top dog in the TV watching fraternity, with both broadcast (-9.8%) and cable (-8.9%) weathering significant declines in viewership on a year-on-year basis. In stark contrast, the volume of people streaming surged 22.6% between July 2021 and July 2022.