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Streaming usage rebounds in May, and The Gauge™ welcomes a third FAST service

After a 2.1% dip in viewing in April, streaming usage rebounded in May to capture 36.4% of TV, and audiences continue to tap into the growing range of services. While a methodology change to more fully capture streaming usage was a factor in the monthly uptick, approximately half of the 2.5% increase in monthly usage reflected viewing behavior. Separately, the Roku Channel is the latest service to obtain stand-alone coverage in The Gauge, capturing 1.1% of total TV usage in May. Despite the streaming gains, however, total TV usage fell 4.4% from April.

The breakout performance of the Roku Channel in May highlights the increasing footprint of free ad-supported television (FAST) services. Combined, the three FAST services that are independently reported in The GaugeTM (Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Roku Channel) are each comparable in usage to Peacock and HBO Max. And in aggregate, they account for more viewership than Amazon Prime Video.

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video each gained momentum in May, posting usage gains of 9.2% and 5.1%, respectively. Roughly half of the Netflix increase was driven by the methodology change, coupled with the fact that the platform had the top three streaming titles this month: Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (5.4 billion viewing minutes), A Man Called Otto (3.1 billion) and The Mother (3.0 billion). Capturing 3.1% of TV, Amazon Prime Video benefitted from the strength of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Citadel, which combined for 2.7 billion minutes. And for the fourth straight month, YouTube maintained its stance as the top platform, gaining 0.4 share points to account for 8.5% of TV.

The 4.4% drop in total TV viewing in May was driven by reduced broadcast and cable viewing, which posted drops of 5.5% and 5.4%, respectively. The declines caused broadcast and cable to each surrender 0.3 share points. A 25% drop in sports viewing was largely responsible for the declines on broadcast, but viewership of the Kentucky Derby outpaced NCIS, Young Sheldon, Blue Bloods, Ghosts and FBI. Cable ended its streak of share gains in the previous two months, but the extensive coverage of the NBA Finals on ESPN and TNT fueled a 12% increase in sports viewership, and accounted for the top four cable programs in May. And despite the traction that the CNN Town Hall generated, news viewing fell more than 11% from April. On a year-over-year basis, broadcast viewing was down 5.6% and cable viewing was down 13.7%. Nielsen

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