The Rise of Free Ad-Supported Streaming Services

The Rise of Free Ad-Supported Streaming Services

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Americans are increasingly turning to free ad-supported streaming services as a way to cut back on expenses. Services like Pluto TV, Tubi, and The Roku Channel are seeing significant growth as people look for affordable entertainment options.

According to a report from Nielsen, Tubi accounted for 1.3 percent of all streaming traffic, followed The Roku Channel with 1.1 percent, and Pluto TV with 0.9 percent. Combined, these three services make up 3.3% of all viewing, surpassing popular platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and HBO Max. It is worth noting that Pluto TV became the first free ad-supported streaming service to be ranked in Nielsen’s top 10.

The top 10 streaming services in terms of market share are as follows:

– YouTube: 9.1 percent
– Netflix: 8.2 percent
– Hulu: 3.6 percent
– Prime Video: 3.4 percent
– Disney+: 2 percent
– HBO Max: 1.3 percent
– Tubi: 1.3 percent
– Peacock: 1.2 percent
– The Roku Channel: 1.1 percent
– Paramount+: 1.1 percent
– Pluto TV: 0.9 percent

One of the factors contributing to the growth of TV viewing is the popularity of sports. Live sports events continue to attract a large audience, driving the demand for streaming services.

According to Nielsen’s report, the decline in streaming usage in August can be partly attributed to the return of children to school, with viewers aged 2-17 leading to an 80% decrease in usage. However, Disney+ remained strong, with titles like “Bluey” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” ranking as the third- and fourth-most watched shows, respectively.

Netflix, on the other hand, experienced a 4.8% drop in usage, but shows like “Suits” and “The Lincoln Lawyer” still attracted a significant audience. Peacock, which also features “Suits,” saw an 8.3% increase in usage due to events like WWE SummerSlam and the success of “The Super Mario Brothers Movie.”

While linear streaming is not included in the streaming category, it accounted for 5.1% of TV usage in August, indicating that traditional cable TV still holds a significant share of viewership.

As Americans continue to search for the best new shows, online streaming platforms are becoming the preferred choice over cable TV. With the current writers’ strike affecting the production of new content, networks may rely on reruns, reality TV, and shows from their streaming services to fill the programming void.

– Nielsen report