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Sports fuel broadcast growth as streaming loses ground

This iteration of The Gauge includes a methodology change that more accurately differentiates Hulu Live and Hulu SVOD viewing. This change does not reflect a change in consumption. Rather, it reflects how viewing is being credited. The net impact is roughly half a share point, which affects both Hulu SVOD and total streaming.

Total television usage inched up 2% in October, bolstered by a 9.4% increase in broadcast viewing. While the seasonal uptick in October isn’t unique, this year’s gains were achieved without the benefit of a robust new programming schedule. Without any new scripted programming, the broadcast boost was almost entirely attributable to sports programming.

The robust NFL schedule and the MLB’s World Series were the primary drivers of the 15% rise in sports viewing across broadcast channels, powering October to its third consecutive month of broadcast gains. It was also the largest gain for broadcast since January 2023. The increase in sports viewing also attracted an influx of younger viewers: broadcast viewing among 18-24-year-olds was up 15%. On a year-over-year basis, however, total broadcast viewing was down 5.6% and the sports genre was down by 8%.

Cable benefited from double-digit gains across the news and sports genres (17% and 19%), with news taking the top-genre crown capturing 21.8% of cable viewing. While these gains resulted in 0.9% more viewing, it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the total TV trend, causing a loss of 0.3 share points for the month to land at 29.5%, the smallest share for the cable category to date.

Trending the opposite of broadcast, streaming gave back share for a third consecutive month, although usage was almost flat with September (-0.6%). Without the methodology change noted above, however, the share loss would have only been 0.4 instead of 0.9. Nielsen

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