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Streaming Viewership Has Officially Overtaken Cable and Broadcast Television

The types of ways that viewers are consuming video are plentiful with the advent of the Internet:

  • Cable and Satellite TV: Cable and satellite TV services like Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish Network provide television channels through physical cables or satellite signals. Differentiators include various channels, including premium content and live sports. Key services include channel packages and DVR for recording shows.
  • Over-the-Air (OTA) Broadcast: OTA broadcast involves receiving free-to-air television signals via an antenna. It offers local channels like ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and PBS. Differentiators include cost-effectiveness and access to local news and programming. Key services include HD quality broadcasts without a subscription fee.
  • Streaming Services: Streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max deliver on-demand content online. Their differentiators include exclusive original content and the ability to watch anytime, anywhere. Key services include a vast library of movies, TV series, and documentaries.
  • Smart TVs and Streaming Devices: Smart TVs and devices like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Chromecast allow users to access streaming apps and services directly on their TVs. Differentiators include ease of use and app integration. Key services include app stores for downloading streaming apps.
  • IPTV (Internet Protocol Television): Services like AT&T U-verse and Verizon Fios deliver TV content over high-speed internet connections. Differentiators include interactive features and on-demand content. Key services include bundled internet and TV packages.
  • Video-on-Demand (VOD): VOD platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and Vudu offer individual movies and shows for rent or purchase. Differentiators include a vast library of content and flexible pricing options. Key services include renting or buying movies and TV episodes.
  • Mobile Apps: Mobile apps such as YouTube TV, Sling TV, and Peacock allow users to stream TV content on smartphones and tablets. Differentiators include mobile access and live TV streaming. Key services include live TV channels and on-demand content on mobile devices.
  • Gaming Consoles: Gaming consoles like Xbox (Xbox Live) and PlayStation (PlayStation Vue) offer TV streaming services as part of their gaming ecosystem. Differentiators include the integration of gaming and entertainment. Key services include live TV channels and gaming-related content.
  • Social Media Platforms: Social media platforms like Facebook Watch and Instagram TV (IGTV) provide short-form video content. Differentiators include user-generated content and social interactions. Key services include video content shared by users and creators.
  • Hybrid Services: Hybrid services like Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV combine traditional TV channels with streaming features. Differentiators include live TV with cloud DVR and multiple device support. Key services include live TV streaming and cloud-based recording.

These methods offer various options for consumers to access television content, catering to different preferences and needs.

Streaming Overtakes Broadcast and Cable

In July 2022, a new Nielsen report revealed a significant milestone in the entertainment industry: streaming platforms have surpassed cable TV networks regarding consumer attention. During that month, consumers spent more time streaming services than on cable TV, capturing 34.8% of consumer attention compared to cable’s 34.4%.

streaming vs cable market share
Source: Tubefilter

While this shift indicates digital media’s growing influence over traditional TV, it’s important to note that streaming’s lead is currently marginal. Streaming platforms received 190.9 billion minutes of watch time per week in July 2022, partly due to the release of popular series like “Stranger Things.” Additionally, a substantial portion of streaming growth comes from platforms beyond the major players like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, and HBO Max.

While streaming is on the rise, traditional TV and network channels still commanded 56% of consumer watch time in July, driven partly by the upcoming NFL and NBA seasons. Nevertheless, the shift towards streaming is undeniable, and it’s expected to continue with the increasing availability of exclusive sports broadcasts on streaming platforms.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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