Nielsen: TV Viewing Surged in November, Powered by Football and Streaming Content

Live sports and streaming dominated consumer home entertainment consumption in November, according to new data from Nielsen.

The media measurement company’s monthly snapshot of total TV and streaming usage in the United States revealed that time spent watching television climbed considerably in November, marking the second-highest month of overall TV consumption in 2022, trailing behind January.

Nielsen reported five days in November with more than 100 billion minutes of TV viewing, including Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) when audiences spent nearly 106 billion minutes in front of television screens watching football. Thanksgiving ranked as the No. 2 most-watched day of TV so far in 2022, second to Jan. 16, which racked up more than 107 billion minutes largely driven by three NFL Wild Card football games.

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The Gauge: Nielsen’s total TV and streaming snapshot. November 2022.

Overall TV usage climbed 7.8% from October, and viewing volume was up for all categories on a monthly basis. Streaming saw the largest monthly increase in November with a 10.2% bump in usage, which brought the category to 38.2% of total TV viewing and set another record share for the digital format. Compared with November 2021, streaming usage grew by 41.2% and the category gained 9.7 share points.

Netflix, HBO Max and YouTube all achieved double-digit viewing increases in November, up 13.1%, 12.2% and 11.8%, respectively versus October. Netflix also saw the most significant monthly increase in share (+0.4) to finish November with 7.6% of TV.

Viewing of linear television and online TV apps represented 5.8% of total television usage and 15.2% of streaming usage in November (compared with 5.7% and 15.4%, respectively, in October). YouTube TV accounted for 15.4% of YouTube viewing (1.4 share points), and Hulu + Live TV made up 12% of Hulu viewing (0.5 share points).

Broadcast usage rose 6.7% from October, but due to the large increase in total television usage, its share of TV dropped slightly (-0.3 points) to 25.7%. Primarily driven by NFL programming, World Cup soccer coverage, and four World Series games, broadcast sports viewing jumped 10.2% and accounted for the largest share (32%) of the category’s viewing total. Broadcast news viewing was also up 14.6% compared with October, and viewing to the drama genre declined by over 12%.

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Cable TV gained the smallest amount of monthly growth among viewing categories (+4.2%) and ended November with 31.8% of total TV usage, representing a monthly loss of 1.1 share points. The increase in cable viewing was driven by the feature film genre, which climbed 32.7% to make up 18.7% of cable’s total, and cable news (+1.4% on volume), which remained the top genre for the category with 18.9%.

On a year-over-year basis, time spent watching cable content declined 9.3% and the category lost 5.1 share points. A yearly comparison also shows that cable sports and cable news viewing were up 19.6% and 17.6%, respectively, versus November 2021.

NPD: New Consoles Drive 35% Increase in November Consumer Video Game Spending

Spurred by a record $1.4 billion in hardware spending on new-generation consoles, November video game spending increased 35% to a record $6.97 billion, according to new data from The NPD Group. Sales of Microsoft Xbox Series X and Series S units, coupled with PlayStation 5, upped hardware sales 58% from $886 million from the previous-year period.

Hardware sales through 11 months approached $4 billion, up 34% from last year. Accessories increased 8% to $314 million, from $290.7 million. Year-to-date, accessory sales are up 22% to $2.07 billion, from $1.69 billion, driven by Sony’s DualSense Wireless Controller.

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Software revenue increased 32% $5.24 billion, compared with $3.96 billion last year. Year-to-date revenue is up 21% to $38.4 billion, from $31.73 billion. Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was the top-selling title of the year, marking 13 straight years the franchise has topped annual software sales.

Through 11 months of the year, total video game spending is up 22% to $44.5 billion, from $36.47 billion last year.