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Streaming hits new high in Nielsen TV share measure

Total television usage declined in March, but streaming’s share of that usage hit a new high, moving up to near 30% of total use.

Both streaming and cable grew share in March at the expense of gaming and broadcast TV – which withdrew a bit with the wrap-up of the Super Bowl and Olympics – according to “The Gauge” from Nielsen, its monthly macro look at TV delivery platforms.

Overall usage made a typical seasonal drop of about 4.2%. But the biggest part of that drop came for broadcast TV and for the “Other” category, which is heavily videogaming, but also includes activities like watching video discs.

Cable’s share of TV usage bumped up to 36.9% from the prior month’s 35.4%, no doubt aided by a bump for cable news alongside Russia’s war in Ukraine. Broadcast share dipped to 24.9% from 26%, with sports viewing down 53% month-over-month (and the share of “sports event programming” in viewing fell to 12% from almost 25%). And “Other” use fell to 8.4% from 10%.

That left Streaming to bump its share to 29.7% from 28.7% the month before – and with broad gains for its components. After dipping last month, individual leader Netflix bumped up to 6.6% share from 6.4%; YouTube moved up to 6.0% from 5.7%; Hulu bumped to 3.3% from 3.0%; Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ:AMZN) was flat at 2.3%; and Disney+ went to 1.8% from a prior 1.7%.

Niche services continue to gain as well, with “Other streaming” bumping its combined share to 9.8% from February’s 9.5%. That category includes small services such as Crackle as well as linear streamers like Spectrum, DirecTV and Sling TV .

Turning to the weekly top 10 in streaming viewing time, it turns out Bridgerton is still the king. Netflix (NFLX) dropped its second season of the hit show March 25, and just a few days in the week were enough for it to stream a giant 2.547 billion minutes in the most recently Nielsen weekly ratings (for March 21-17).

Bridgerton was at the vanguard of a big streaming week for Netflix: It was trailed in the overall ratings by fellow Netflix offerings The Adam Project (1.199 billion minutes) and Is it Cake? (1.185 billion minutes).

Just behind them was a film cooling off after its own hot streak, Disney’s Turning Red, which streamed 977 million minutes. Disney’s holiday hit Encanto is still hot as well, seventh-best overall with 719 million minutes streamed.

Aside from those two Disney entries, Netflix held the other eight of the top 10 program slots.

Pay TV distributors: Comcast, Charter, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS, Optimum/Suddenlink, Atlantic Broadband, Sparklight .

Relevant local broadcast tickers: Nexstar Media Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Gray Television, Tegna, E.W. Scripps. National broadcasters: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox. And some ad-tech names tied to connected TV: The Trade Desk, Magnite, PubMatic, Criteo, Roku.

Netflix investors have had a week to remember, after the stock lost more than a third of its value after a second straight disappointing earnings report. Seeking Alpha

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