Nielsen: Streaming Video Still Lags Behind Pay-TV, Broadcast Use

It may be an over-the-top video ecosystem, but combined legacy pay-TV and broadcast use continues to dominate U.S. households, according to new data from Nielsen.

Driven largely by live sports (up 7%), including college football bowl games, the cable television market share in December 2021 held steady at 37.2%, while broadcast tracked at 26.1% among households with at least two people. That compared with 27.7% for streaming video households, led by Netflix with 6.4% market share — just ahead of YouTube at 5.8%.

Notably, the “other streaming” category topped all streamers with 8.9% market share, driven by video games and packaged media, including DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

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Like in November, Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy at Nielsen, attributed the strong linear TV use to the winter holidays and increased numbers of consumers, including children, with excess free time on their hands.

That trend, however, changed during the Christmas week, when U.S. consumers’ streaming usage reached 183 billion minutes, up almost 3% from 178 billion minutes streamed over the Thanksgiving week. Indeed, streaming topped 33% market share during Christmas week.

HBO Max: December Most-Streamed Month Since May 2020 Service Launch

December marked HBO Max’s most-viewed month since its launch in May 2020 in terms of hours viewed, due in part to a programming lineup that included originals shows “And Just Like That …” and “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” finales of HBO series “Succession,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Insecure,” and movies The Matrix Resurrections and King Richard.

December kicked off with the final episodes of “Sex Lives of College Girls,” which delivered a 76% jump in viewership from its series premiere. The half-hour comedy has proven to be a top performer ranking as the second-best start for a Max original comedy on the platform only behind “And Just Like That …” and No. 2 in the European Union and Latin America among Max original half-hour series.

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The “Sex in the City” relaunch continued its reign throughout the month as the No. 1 series on Max in the U.S., E.U. and Latin America since its release. The new chapter remains the best start for any series to-date on the platform and has been the top series every week since its debut. Viewership of its most recent episodes on Dec. 30 spiked nearly 20% from the week prior for its largest single-day audience since it debuted. The original series, “Sex and the City,” also saw viewership highs throughout December.

The finale of “Succession” delivered a series-high across all platforms with total viewing increasing 47% versus the season two finale, 21% from the season three premiere and 8% from the prior week’s episode.

The final two Warner Bros. Pictures films to debut on Max the same day as their theatrical premieres were The Matrix Resurrections and King Richard, both debuting to strong viewership. Resurrections closed out the month securing a top four spot among the studio’s day-and-date films for the year. It was the most-watched film overall on Max in December, boosting viewing to previous films in “The Matrix” franchise as well.

The momentum continued into the New Year with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint appearing on the “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts,” the highly anticipated retrospective celebrating one of the top film franchises of all time.

The show debuted as the platform’s top title overall for the week in the U.S., E.U., and Latin America, despite only being available for two days. It had the second-best start of any special on Max, ranking only behind “Friends: The Reunion.” Additionally, new series “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses” and the “Harry Potter” movies all experienced a strong halo effect from the arrival of the special, with the new competition series ranking 3rd among all series on Max over the weekend and all eight movies ranking among the Top 15 movies in the week and seeing double digit gains versus the prior week.

HBO Now Outlines December Streaming Video Slate

HBO Now, the premium channel’s standalone subscription streaming service with more than 5 million subscribers, announced new, continuing and concluding programming scheduled in December.

New programming includes the HBO Sports’ film, Momentum Generation, which explores how a group of teenagers changed surfing culture in the 1990s; Pete Holmes: Dirty Clean, a stand-up special from the creator/star of Crashing, and Icebox, the story of a 12-year-old Honduran boy (played by Coco’s Anthony Gonzalez) who is forced to flee his home and seek asylum in the United States, only to find himself trapped in the U.S. immigration system.

Original series ending in December include “Camping,” “My Brilliant Friend,” “Vice,” “Sally4Ever” and “Room 104.”

Documentaries include Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Blandwhich follows the family of Sandra Bland and their legal team as they try to make sense of what happened to the 28-year-old woman who was found hanging from a noose in her jail cell three days after being arrested for a traffic violation, and Bleed Out, which starts as a son’s video diary and becomes a citizen’s investigation into the future of the American healthcare system.

Studio movies streaming in December for the first time include: Ready Player One, Blockers, RampageIsle of DogsLife of the Party, and Traffik. Academy Award-winner Inception and comedy The Hangover also premiere in the month.

Movies departing HBO Now include Blade Runner 2049 and Dunkirk, alongside Fifty Shades Darker, Napoleon Dynamite, Whip It, The Sandlot and The Sandlot 2.

 Original Programming:
Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland (12/3)
HBO First Look: Mortal Engines (12/4)
Ice Box (12/7)
Momentum Generation (12/11)
Pete Holmes: Dirty Clean (12/15)
Vice Special Report: The Panic Artists (12/10)
My True Brilliant Friend (12/10)
Bleed Out (12/17)

Series Finales:
Camping, Season 1 Finale (12/2)
My Brilliant Friend, Season 1 Finale (12/10)
Vice, Season 6 Finale (12/14)
Magnifica, Season 3 Finale (12/16)
Room 104, Season 2 Finale (12/14)
Sally4Ever, Season 1 Finale (12/23)

Theatrical Premieres:
Rampage, 2018 (12/1)
Traffik, 2018 (12/6)
Ready Player One2018 (12/8)
Blockers, 2018 (12/15)
Isle of Dogs, 2018 (12/22)
Life of the Party, 2018 (12/29)

Starting Dec. 1st:
An Innocent Man, 1989
The Best Man, 1999
The Book of Eli, 2010
Bootmen, 2000
Dave, 1993
Dawn of the Dead, 2004
George A Romero’s Land of the Dead, 2005
Get Him to the Greek, 2010
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, 2009
The Hangover, 2009
He’s Just Not That Into You, 2009
Inception, 2010
The Land Before Time, 1988
The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure, 1994
The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving, 1995
The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists, 1996
The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island, 1997
The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock, 1998
The Land Before Time VII: Stone of Cold Fire, 2000
The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze, 2001
The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water, 2002
The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration, 2003
Legend of the Guardians The Owls of Ga’Hoole, 2010
Light It Up, 1999
Lost River, 2015

Ending Dec. 16:
Wolves at the Door, 2017

 Ending Dec. 23: 
All About Steve, 2009
Marmaduke, 2010

 Ending Dec. 24:
Jennifer’s Body, 2009

Ending Dec. 26:
Whip It, 2009

Ending Dec. 31st:
A Perfect World, 1993
Away We Go, 2009
Black Sea, 2015
Blade Runner 2049, 2017
Blood Work, 2002
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, 2010
Death Warrant, 1990
Dolores Claiborne, 1995
Dude Where’s my Car?, 2000
Dunkirk, 2017
Fifty Shades Darker, 2017
Garden State, 2004
Mr. Mom, 1983
Napoleon Dynamite, 2004
Ninja Assassin, 2009
Oscar, 1991
Owning Mahowny, 2003
Pattie Cake$, 2017
Rock Dog, 2017
Run Fat Boy Run, 2008
Sweet Dreams, 1985
The Full Monty, 1997
The Sandlot, 1993
The Sandlot 2, 2005
The Turning Point, 1977