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Nielsen: Broadcast, Cable Viewing Keeps Falling, As Kids Take To Video Games.


Television usage increased 1.7% in December to its highest levels since January 2023, but the biggest jump came from video-game consoles, with streaming, broadcast and cable all losing share, Nielsen said.


New Year’s Eve was the second-biggest day for TV viewing in 2023, behind only Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 12. More than 113 million viewers tuned in for the Big Game.


Broadcast viewing fell 4.3% — the first drop since July — and its share of TV usage dropped to 23.5% from 24.9% in November. Sports represented 28.5% of broadcast viewing.


Compared to a year ago, broadcast usage was down 5.9%.


Cable usage was up 1.3% but cable’s share of viewing dipped to 28.2% from 28.3% in November. Feature films was the top cable genre with a 21.4% share. Sports viewing grew 8.4% with ESPN’s Dec. 30 Detroit Lions-Dallas Cowboys game drawing 11 million viewers.


Cable viewing was down 9.7% from a year ago in December. Streaming was up 1.2% but its share of TV usage declined to 35.9% from 36.1% a year ago. Viewing by people 18-24 was up 2.7%.


Time spent watching YouTube on TV was down 3.4%, while Netflix (up 6%) and Tubi (up 6.6%) showed gains.


YouTube remained the top streamer on TV with an 8.5% share of viewing, down from 9%. Nielsen’s “other” category, including video gaming, gained in share to 12.5% from 10.7%.


Netflix’s share rose to 7.7% from 7.4%, Amazon Prime Video had a 3.3% share, down from 3.4%; Hulu had a 2.6% share of TV usage, down from 2.7%; Disney+ was unchanged at 1.9%; Tubi had 1.4%, unchanged; Peacock garnered 1.3%, the same as in November; Max held steady with a 1.2%; Paramount+ had 0.9%, unchanged and Pluto TV dropped to 0.7% from 0.8%.


Linear (live TV) streaming via MVPD (multichannel video programming distributors) and vMVPD (virtual multichannel video programming distributors) apps represented 6% of total television usage in December. Linear streaming is included in the appropriate broadcast or cable category, and is not included in the streaming category.


“Despite the record-breaking football season, this was not a typical fall TV season,” Nielsen said. “The scarcity of new content across the entire ecosystem will soon turn the corner, with ramped-up production expected to begin delivering new scripted programming as soon as mid- January.


“Yet while the abbreviated broadcast and cable seasons won’t have the awareness and promotion that comes from fall sports, the recent streaming success of Young Sheldon and Suits highlights that the success of any one program isn’t limited to its original airing.”

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