According to Nielsen’s monthly state of TV report, linear TV viewership experienced a slight resurgence in August after reaching an all-time low in July. Combined viewing for broadcast and cable managed to climb back to 50.6% of total TV usage, with broadcast recording its first increase since January. Broadcast accounted for 20.4% of TV usage, marking a 1.4% gain month-over-month. Cable, on the other hand, saw a significant growth of 1.7%.
The revival of linear TV was largely driven variety programming, such as America’s Got Talent and Big Brother, with drama and news emerging as the most-watched broadcast genres in August. Cable benefited from NFL preseason events and the first presidential debate. While these short-term gains are encouraging, linear TV continues to face a rapid decline on a yearly basis, with August seeing a 5.5% decline in broadcast viewing and a 10.6% decline in cable viewing compared to the previous year.
In contrast, streaming maintained its position as the largest share of television despite experiencing a slight decline to 38.3% in August. Nielsen attributes this dip to the return of students to school, with 80% of the decline coming from viewers aged 2-17. The most-watched series on streaming platforms in August was Suits, garnering 11.7 billion minutes viewed across Netflix and Peacock. Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer followed closely behind with 4.5 billion minutes. Disney+ secured the third and fourth spots with Bluey and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, respectively.
Among streaming platforms, Peacock witnessed the largest increase in usage, surging 8.3%. This spike can be credited to WWE SummerSlam, shared coverage of the NFL Hall of Fame Game, and the release of The Super Mario Brothers Movie. Paramount+ also experienced growth with shows like Special Ops: Lioness and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, boosting its usage 4.2%.
While linear TV may have experienced a temporary rebound in August, streaming’s dominance remains unchallenged. As viewers continue to gravitate towards on-demand and personalized content, the landscape of television consumption is undergoing a significant shift.
– Nielsen’s monthly state of TV report, The Gauge.