Report: US cable boosted by upswing in news viewing
May 17, 2023
According to Nielsen’s April 2023 report of The Gauge, the media measurement company’s monthly snapshot of total broadcast, cable and streaming consumption that occurs through US television, cable was the only category to record an increase in share this month (+0.4 pts), boosted by an upswing in cable news viewing. This gain for cable also represents the first back-to-back share increase for the category since the inception of The Gauge in May 2021.
With a decrease of 1.9 per cent from March to April, total TV usage in the US declined for the third consecutive month, a trend that is typical as the summer months approach. By comparison, time spent watching TV declined 2.1 per cent over the same period in 2022.
The cable category exhibited the smallest dip in viewing across all categories in The Gauge this month, decreasing 0.6 per cent vs March, and was able to gain 0.4 share points to account for 31.5 per cent of total TV viewing in April. Cable news viewing increased 4.3 per cent from March to April and accounted for the largest portion of cable viewing (19%). Year-over-year, time spent watching cable content was down 12 per cent in April 2023, and the category has lost 5.3 share points.
At 23.1 per cent share of total TV, broadcast viewing was down 2.7 per cent in April and the category lost 0.2 share points on the month. The completion of the NCAA basketball tournament, and The Masters golf tournament, were the most-watched broadcast programmes in April, but broadcast sports viewing overall dipped 17.1 per cent vs March to account for 9.6 per cent of the category. The general drama genre increased 2.1 per cent in April, driven by titles like NCIS, Blue Bloods and Chicago Fire. From a year-over-year perspective, broadcast viewership was down 3.7 per cent, and the category has lost 1.6 share points.
Time spent with streaming content was down 2.1 per cent in April compared with March, and the streaming category recorded a loss in share (-0.1 pts.) for the second consecutive month. However, streaming still concluded the month with the largest share of TV at 34 per cent.
Offsetting April’s dip in streaming consumption were the FAST (free ad-supported TV) offerings of Tubi TV and Pluto TV. Tubi TV usage was up 6 per cent from March, and the platform added 0.1 share point to capture 1.1 per cent of overall TV, and Pluto TV viewing increased 3.9 per cent on the month to stay at 0.8 per cent of TV. In March 2023, Pluto TV exhibited the largest increase in usage across all streaming platforms at 4.6 per cent. Additional streaming highlights:
- Time spent watching YouTube (excluding YouTube TV) on television increased 1.5 per cent in April, which led to a gain of 0.3 share points and upheld YouTube as the most-watched streaming platform at 8.1 per cent of overall TV usage.
- Despite having the two most-watched streaming titles in April (The Night Agent and Love is Blind), Netflix was down 7 per cent in usage vs March and lost 0.4 share points to finish at 6.9 per cent of total TV.
- Disney+ was down 1.7 per cent in usage but retained its 1.8 per cent share of television on the strength of The Mandalorian, which was the third most-watched streaming title in April.
Viewing via MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor) and vMVPD (virtual multichannel video programming distributor) streaming apps represented 5.4 per cent of total television use in April, including 1.2 per cent attributed to YouTube TV, and 0.4 per cent to Hulu Live.