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Linear TV’s Share Of Television Viewing Drops Below 50% For First Time.


Linear TV viewership fell below 50% for the first time in July, according to Nielsen’s July 2023 report of The Gauge, the media measurement company’s monthly snapshot of total broadcast, cable and streaming consumption that occurs via television. Broadcast and cable each represented record low shares at 20.0% and 29.6% of total TV usage, respectively, to combine for a linear television total of 49.6%. That marks the lowest linear total to date.


Cable's share dropped below 30% for the first time as usage fell 2.9% and the category lost a full share point. Broadcast usage fell 3.6%, losing 0.8 percentage points.


On a year-over-year basis, broadcast viewing was down 5.4% (-1.5 pts.), and cable viewing was down 12.5% (-4.8 pts.).


Here is linear TV’s (broadcast + cable) three year share of viewing trend: 63.6% (June 2021), 57.5% (June 2022), 51.4% (June 2023), 49.6% (July 2023).


Time spent streaming (via a television) increased 2.9% in July compared with June, and the category gained a full share point to finish at 38.7% of total TV usage—topping its previous record-high share, which it recorded just last month. On a yearly basis, streaming viewership has grown 25.3%, and the category has gained 7.3 share points.


Streaming usage increased 2.9% and accounted for a record high 38.7% of total TV usage in July. Streaming usage grew 25.3% from July 2022 to July 2023, accelerating from the 22.6% increase from July 2021 to July 2022. In fact, the rate of growth for streaming usage from July 22 to 23 is 12% higher than the same period a year prior.


Reacting to the new record low share for linear TV, Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard notes that AM/FM radio remains at 70% of U.S. ad-supported audio time spent. “More than ever, radio makes your TV better,” he said. “Putting radio into the media plan adds a massive amount of incremental reach. The rule of thumb is "20 gets you 50". Move 20% of your TV budget to radio and generate a 50% increase in reach.”

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