Netflix’s ‘Lucifer,’ ‘Cobra Kai’ Top Weekly Nielsen SVOD Rankings

Netflix dominated Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 SVOD rankings, again accounting for all 10 spots for the third consecutive week (Aug. 24 – 30) — or as long as Nielsen has published the chart tallying Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu and Netflix programming.

“Cobra Kai,” which Netflix acquired the two seasons of from YouTube Premium, tracked 1.4 billion minutes streamed across 20 episodes during its first three days available. The streamer is set to release a third season in 2021. That trailed more than 2 billion minutes streamed over 75 episodes of “Lucifer.”

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Nielsen: 25% of U.S. Homes Stream Video on the TV

Jumpstarted by a global pandemic, more Americans are streaming video in the home on their television than ever. New data from Nielsen found that 25% of consumers’ collective time is spent with over-the-top video services — including among people 55 years and older.

According to data from Nielsen’s Streaming Meter, a subset of more than 1,100 streaming capable homes from the National TV panel, as of the second quarter of 2020, streaming comprised 25% of all television minutes viewed, with Netflix being the largest contributor to streaming share at 34%, followed by YouTube (not YouTube TV) at 20%. Disney+, which only launched last November, now accounts for over 4% of total streaming time — underscoring the strength of the Disney brand.

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And despite a full menu of SVOD and AVOD services available to consumers, and available either free (ad-supported) or month-to-month without annual long-term contracts, Nielsen found that consumers aren’t just spending more time streaming video; they’re also willing to spend more to stream video. According to the survey, only 2% of adults said they are reducing the number of paid services they subscribe to, while 25% have added a service in the past three months. Hispanics have adopted new OTT video services even more aggressively at 40%.

“With the number of new streaming entities coming to market and the demand for both original and legacy content growing by the day, how the streaming market evolves in the coming months and years should be not just top of mind for content creators,” Nielsen wrote. “Additionally, these trends should be top of mind for media owners seeking to license programming, as well as marketers and brands, who might have additional opportunities for connecting products and services with engaged consumers via in-content brand placements.”

Nielsen: Netflix Dominates Weekly SVOD Top 10 Chart

Driven by a mix of original and third-party licensed content, Netflix swept all 10 spots on Nielsen’s weekly SVOD programming chart from Aug. 17 to 23. The TV ratings guru earlier this month began publishing a weekly Top 10 chart of most-streamed SVOD programming from just Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It now also includes Disney+ and Hulu.

Netflix is led by “Lucifer,” the former Fox television series that found a second home on the SVOD pioneer. It bumped “The Umbrella Academy” into the No. 3 spot with nearly 1.6 billion minutes consumed over 75 episodes. “Academy” has tracked about 1 billion minutes streamed over 20 episodes.

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In the No. 2 spot was “The Legend of Korra,” (1.28 billion minutes over 52 episodes) an animated television series originally created for Nickelodeon in 2012. The next three spots were held by reruns of “The Office,” “Shameless” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” which tracked 928 minutes, 802 minutes and 764 minutes, respectively, across a combined 2,494 episodes.

In the seventh spot was Project Power (761 minutes), an original action/sci-fi/fantasy film starring Jamie Foxx as an ex-soldier who mingles with a cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and teen (Dominique Fishback) in New Orleans to hunt for the source behind a dangerous new pill that grants users temporary superpowers.

The movie was followed by reruns of “Criminal Minds” (713 minutes/277 episodes), “NCIS” (533 minutes/353 episodes) and “Teenage Bounty Hunters,” (422 minutes/10 episodes), the latter a teen comedy-drama series created by Kathleen Jordan that premiered on Netflix on Aug. 14.

Netflix Dominates First Nielsen Top 10 Weekly Streaming Chart

As expected, Netflix programming ranked among the most-streamed content in Nielsen’s first-ever weekly chart ranking the Top 10 shows in the United States streamed on television, excluding laptops, tablets and smart phones. Netflix ended the most-recent fiscal period with 72.9 million North American (including Canada) subscribers. Nielsen also tracks Amazon Prime Video (150 million subs), but does not (yet) track Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, Apple TV+ or CBS All Access.

Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” was the most-streamed show, Aug. 3-9, with its 20 available episodes generating 3.01 billion minutes consumed.

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The remaining nine shows (all on Netflix) are re-runs from pay-TV and broadcast licensed to the SVOD platform. In descending order: “Shameless” (120 episodes generating 1.12 billion minutes); “Grey’s Anatomy” (361 episodes/918 million minutes); “The Office” (192 episodes/897 million minutes); “Criminal Minds” (277 episodes/697 million minutes); “NCIS” (353 episodes/524 million minutes); “In the Dark” (26 episodes/418 million minutes); “Dexter” (96 episodes/316 million minutes); “Supernatural” (321 episodes/315 million minutes); and “Parks and Recreation” (121 episodes/304 million minutes).

Netflix, which has begun releasing internal data (based on a subscriber watching just two minutes of a show or movie) also had “Umbrella Academy” and “Shameless” among its top streamed shows. But other than “The Office,” Netflix charts featured predominantly original programming, including “World’s Most Wanted,” “Immigration Nation,” “Sugar Rush,” “Moesha,” “The Last Dance” and “Selling Sunset.”

Nielsen: AVOD Outpacing SVOD Consumption

While SVOD giants Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ generate the headlines, ad-supported VOD is quietly tracking significant consumer appeal.

Ad-supported streaming varieties offer consumers yet another video option amid a vastly fragmenting sea of choice. In addition to appealing to consumers who feel maxed with subscription services, ad-supported options may become more popular among cash-strapped consumers affected by rising unemployment brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

New Nielsen data finds streaming consumption across all video options is up more than 74% from last year — accelerated by COVID-19 — underscoring the reality streaming video is the present and future of content creation. Streaming-capable households spend 25% of their time streaming video content — suggesting the home entertainment distribution channels is gaining traction among older (55+) consumers.

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In terms of video streaming distribution, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and YouTube maintain the lion’s share of the pie, with Disney+ already grabbing 4% after just coming to market in November 2019, according to Nielsen. Other distribution channels, however, account for nearly another 25% of total streaming distribution.

The surge of SVOD platforms in 2020 has drawn a line in the sand about how many subscription services consumers are willing to pay for. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic upended everyday (and night) routines, forcing households to seek out new ways to pass the time, and streaming came to the rescue.

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That shift may have altered media consumption permanently, particularly for segments of the population that weren’t streaming before (i.e., 55+).

“That’s because despite warm weather and the post-lockdown freedom to leave our homes, the time we’re spending streaming video remains well above year-ago levels,” Nielsen wrote. “Even more impressive is the fact that engagement with Internet-connected TVs remains above pre-COVID-19 levels. Comparatively, many traditional media consumption trends, such as linear TV viewing and traditional AM/FM radio tune-in, are nearly back to seasonally normalized levels.”

With much of the U.S. re-opened for business, Americans are still binging on video streaming content. During second-quarter 2020, Nielsen said Americans watched more than 142 billion minutes of streaming video. And while the aggregate growth is notable and speaks to the overwhelming popularity of video streaming, the year-over-year growth in minutes watched outside of content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+ and YouTube was more than 57%, accounting for more than 12 billion minutes.

Digital is where media consumption is rising, and as new digital video content offerings have come online, consumers have embrace them, according to Nielsen. And while global ad spend will dip this year amid the pandemic, the February 2020 Nielsen Total Audience Report forecasts that digital media spending should top $500 billion globally by 2023.

Nielsen: Streaming Video Use Up Nearly 100% in Some Markets

With most states across the U.S. implementing stay-at-home orders as concerns about the novel coronavirus pandemic swept across the country, new data from Nielsen found streaming video consumption skyrocketing.

Specifically, the consumption of non-linear content via internet-connected devices, such as smart TVs and other multimedia devices, rose week after week in March, hitting its peak the week of March 23.

Previous research found that staying put in homes can lead to almost a 60% increase in the amount of video content consumed. But a pandemic changes everything. States and cities that moved quickly to enact stay-at-home orders in mid-March, such as New York, Illinois, Washington and California, saw some of the most dramatic increases in streaming consumption between March 2-23.

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Across Nielsen’s 56 largest metered markets, streaming increases have been persistent across all hours of the day. However, the most significant gains have been in the early afternoon hours. Historically, few adults would be home during these hours, but with the lifestyle changes created by stay-at-home orders, the ratings company saw more than 50% increases in streaming from 1-4 p.m. These hours are up over 100% from the same week a year ago.

Nielsen also saw streaming of non-linear content increase across all age groups in Nielsen’s 56 largest metered markets during March. With most schools closed across the country, younger demographics experienced the largest growth, with more than 60% increases.

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Even before COVID-19, organic streaming had been growing over the past few months as new subscription video on demand services such as Disney+ hit the marketplace, along with several ad-supported services.

“The current outbreak has further accelerated streaming’s growth among the key advertising demographic as consumers find themselves with more time in front of the TV glass,” Nielsen wrote, citing consumer searches for new video entertainment content categories such as fitness and wellness, gaming live streams and cooking.

“By understanding where, when and who is watching content across streaming platforms, the media industry as a whole will be better positioned to connect with viewers,” Nielsen wrote.

Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ Nabbed 34 Million Households in First 10 Days

Netflix may or may not have shrewdly launched (on March 20) the original documentary limited series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” during a pandemic.

In any event, the program is generating a lot of buzz — and eyeballs.

The seven-episode series, which explores the world of big cat breeding and bizarre underworld where the animals appear at times to be the least frightening characters, reportedly generated 34 million Netflix households in its first 10 days.

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The show has now become water cooler talk on radio, averaging 19 million per minute in the U.S. between March 20-29, according to Nielsen. The streaming interest topped season two of Netflix’s perennial juggernaut “Stranger Things” (17.5 million per minute), while falling just shy of season three (20.5 million).

Nielsen’s “SVOD content ratings” tracking does not factor in mobile, PC viewing and is limited to the United States — all factors Netflix executives in the past have cited as incomplete data on a show’s true viewership.

Regardless, Netflix has not officially released data on the show’s performance, and media reports say the SVOD pioneer is producing additional content around the show.

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Nielsen: Radio Consumption Rises Amid Pandemic

Radio has been a comfort medium throughout modern history, especially during war and crisis. As more Americans stay home amid growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, media consumption, as repeatedly reported, is peaking.

New data from Nielsen found that among home entertainment options, 83% of consumers say they’re listening to as much or more radio as they were before the pandemic.

Similar to TV coverage during crisis, radio and on-air personalities present a connection to the real world that listeners gravitate toward and trust. Thus, Nielsen found 60% of Americans (18 and older) hold radio in high regard and trust it to deliver timely information about the current COVID-19 outbreak, according to a survey of 1,000 adults 18+ in the U.S. between March 20-22.

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“In a time of heightened uncertainty and disrupted routines, consumers are turning to radio as a trusted source of information and community connection, mirroring patterns observed during past regional and national disasters and weather events,” Brad Kelly, managing director, Nielsen Audio, said in a statement.

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Assessing the time consumers spend with media is critical for both radio stations and advertisers, regardless of whether the country is in a crisis. Americans are already spending almost 12 hours each day with media, and that time could grow by 60% among those who stay indoors, according to Nielsen.

Indeed, the research firm found that 92% of respondents said they were moderately or extremely concerned about COVID-19, with 42% saying radio helped them deal with the outbreak.

And while radio, podcasts and on-air personalities can provide listeners with information that is accurate and relevant to their markets, Nielsen contends advertisers can help listeners get what they need, as 46% say radio helps them know what stores are open and where to shop locally.

“Radio is a local lifeblood for millions of consumers and specializes in keeping audiences up-to-date and plugged into what matters most to them in their community,” Kelly said. “In this environment, it’s no surprise that people say they use radio as a major source of information and connection.”

Nielsen: Asia Offers Post COVID-19 Media Snapshot

In the timeline of the coronavirus pandemic, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea were among the first to feel the effects of social distancing and quarantining.

The regions are now the first to see a possible light at the end of the tunnel. Nielsen, which released new data showing that, similarly to the United States, in-home media consumption increased about 60% during the crisis, and from an advertising perspective, brands and agencies will need to both adjust which products are being marketed, as well as the tone in which they’re delivering their messages to consumers.

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During the first three weeks of the pandemic, Taiwan’s TV audience grew by 1 million viewers, for a total viewing population of approximately 21 million. News channels and programs were the primary beneficiaries of the increased penetration, followed by children’s programming.

In Hong Kong, as more consumers stayed home, Nielsen found that TV ratings for all day and all time periods increased by 43% in February compared with the same time period in 2019, while primetime ratings during the same period increased by 44%.

“The impact of COVID-19 is absolutely substantial,” said David Yeung, VP of marketing communications, consumer group, at HKT Limited, said in a statement. “Almost all industries have been badly hit, with lots of closure for retail outlets, restaurants, etc. The key to survival is to adapt to the changing business environment very quickly and to ensure threats are turned into opportunities by tapping into technology and data.”

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While China’s traditional communist-driven social safety nets have been challenged by a rising middle class and increased dependence on commerce with the West, As Zod Fang, head of GroupM Knowledge, GroupM China, said the government is increasing new policies to stimulate the economy and consumer consumption as the region emerges from the pandemic.

“This will lead to greater demand,” Fang said. “Therefore, brands need to get prepared. Work with agencies to have an overall plan including sourcing, logistics, marketing and sales to fully seize the opportunity.”

China did try to jumpstart the domestic theatrical market on March 24 in Shanghai — a move it quickly reversed, shuttering 600 theaters with no explanation given.

The China Film Group, the state-backed distributor that controls all movie release dates in the country, had reportedly planned to re-release box office hits Wolf Warrior 2 and The Wandering Earth, in addition Disney/Marvel The Avengers franchise movies.

All that’s back on hold for now.

Nielsen: Consumers Forced Indoors During Pandemic Spend More Time on Media

Regardless of whether you call it social distancing, quarantining or retreating to a safe place, heading home amid concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting media consumption habits, according to Nielsen.

The venerable ratings tracking company says staying sequestered in the home can lead to a 60% increase in the amount of content watched on television and portable devices. With consumers around the globe are already leaning into the growing array of content options and channels, a 60% increase is significant.

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Media consumption in the U.S. is already at historical highs. As reported in the most recent “Nielsen Total Audience” report, Americans are spending just shy of 12 hours each day with media platforms — with more than 75% of U.S. consumers utilizing streaming subscriptions and TV-connected devices.

During crisis events, such as a global pandemic, media users ramp up their media consumption to stay informed, kill time, find solace and stay in touch with others, according to Nielsen.

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Nielsen analyzed total TV usage data during two major crises in recent history: Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and a major snowstorm in January 2016. Not surprisingly, TV usage increased significantly during both occasions.

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas. During the impacted period, a Nielsen found a 56% increase of TV use compared with the preceding period and 40% higher than the period following the storm.

While technology has fragmented the media landscape, it also has driven many companies to encourage remote telecommuting when possible. In doing so, these companies have been at the forefront of social distancing, as urged by the CDC, while at the same time, given them an ability to keep operating without much disruption in production continuity.

Nielsen data suggest that employees that work remotely during a typical Monday through Friday work schedule connect over three hours more each week with traditional TV than non-remote workers, 25 hours and 2 minutes to 21 hours and 56 minutes respectively.

In terms of devices, remote workers also spend a higher amount of time each week on their tablets — over four-and-a-half hours compared to the four hours for non-remote workers. Beyond viewing, remote workers also lean into listening. The reach of radio for remote workers compared to non-remote associates is nearly identical — both at just over 95%.

As COVID-19 continues to spread in the U.S. and more companies allow and enact policies for work to be done virtually, the viewing behavior for employees working in the confines of their own homes could drive even greater media usage.

According to Nielsen’s “Social Content Ratings” data, a snapshot from January through February 2020 showed that at its peak the social conversation mentioning either “coronavirus” or “COVID-19,” there were 110,000 TV-related Tweets mentioning these two keywords.