Nielsen: May Streaming Video Usage Increased 2%

The growth of streaming video viewership continues to set records as streaming hit yet another new high in May, claiming 31.9% of total TV time, according to new Nielsen data.

May is historically the month when TV viewership is at its lowest, and this year fell in line with that trend, as total time with TV fell 2.7% compared with April. Compared with broadcast and cable viewing, however, streaming usage increased by 2%, amplified by the release of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” on Disney+ and season four of “Stranger Things” on Netflix. The appetite for these titles was significant, helping the two platforms attract big viewership as the programs dropped: Disney+ attracted 2.5% of the total TV share  on May 27, and Netflix claimed 9% on May 28.

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Also in line with historical norms, broadcast and cable viewing both declined in May, as viewing volume fell 3.5% for each. Drama continued to drive broadcast viewership, with procedural crime dramas like “NCIS,” “FBI” and “Blue Bloods” helping the genre capture one-third of the broadcast viewing. While cable news viewing was down 4.2% in May, sports viewing was up 7%, accounting for 9% of total cable viewing. Notably, NBA playoff games accounted for the top six most-viewed cable programs during the month.

Summertime marks a lull period for traditional television, and it could be an inflection point for the adoption of the expanding streaming platforms, according Brian Fuhrer, SVP, product strategy at Nielsen.

“Streaming is taking advantage of this lull period, and probably never more than this year,” Fuhrer said on the webcast.

Indeed, Fuhrer said the market share for Disney+ and Netflix jumped 2.5% and 9%, respectively, following the debuts of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “Stranger Things 4”.

“We can see what a big impact these shows are having on overall streaming,” he said.