July set a milestone in terms of audiovisual consumption by Americans. According to Nielsen, during that month 34.8% of all time spent watching content was absorbed by streaming services, four tenths above cable TV and with a 13-point margin over online broadcasts. This means that for the first time these platforms have completed a period as the most used option, with an increase of 3.2 points compared to June, which resulted in an improvement of 1.1% in share. And with all the weeks of the month among those with the highest historical consumption of the platform.
The breakdown of this percentage shows that Netflix has led the turnaround, with 8% of the total, ahead of YouTube’s 7.3% and at a distance from Hulu’s 3.6%, Amazon Prime Video’s 3%, Disney+’s 1.8% and HBO Max’s 1%. The remaining 10.2% is made up of other services with smaller shares, with their competition bringing the streaming total to 191 billion minutes each week during the reporting month.
In July, the percentage of time spent consuming content on video-on-demand services was 34.8%, a figure that has improved by 22.6% in a single year.
Comparison with the previous year makes the trend clear, with streaming improving by 22.6%, at the expense of declines of 9.8% and 8.9% for online TV and cable respectively. The latter results are partly due to the drop in time spent watching sports compared to last year, which also saw the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
These data give logical continuity to trends that have been seen in the US for years: on the one hand, the sustained fall in cable TV subscribers, a figure that in just a decade has fallen from more than 100 million households to around 70; and on the other, the rise of streaming services that are much cheaper than a cable subscription and which in the second quarter of the year already reached 113 million households. Price influences the average number of services to which a customer can subscribe to reach five in the US, although this market is showing signs of saturation and price tension, as can be seen in Netflix’s latest results.
An important methodological note is that Nielsen only includes in these comparisons programming consumed via normal or connected TV sets, and therefore leaves out mobile and web streaming consumption, where presumably the advantage could be greater in favour of video on demand.