Streaming Overtakes Cable in July, Leads Platform Rankings for the First Time

Streaming Overtakes Cable in July, Leads Platform Rankings for the First Time

Streaming services hit a fifth consecutive high in their share of all TV use in July — and for the first time, ranked as the most watched platform across the television landscape.

Streamers overtook cable for the month, accounting for almost 35 percent (34.8 percent, to be exact) of all TV usage in the United States, according to Nielsen’s monthly Gauge platform rankings. That’s up more than a full percentage point from June’s figure of 33.7 percent. Streaming usage has increased in every month since March, growing by an average of about a point per month.

The high mark for July was fueled by Netflix’s Stranger Things — which racked up 18 billion minutes of viewing time for the month — and other big titles including The Umbrella Academy and The Boys. Streamers gained more than six share points compared to July 2021 (28.3 percent to 34.8 percent), an increase of almost 23 percent.

The Nielsen figures also run counter to gloomier reports from media companies in recent weeks. Netflix shed nearly a million subscribers worldwide in the second quarter of the year, and Warner Bros. Discovery is making post-merger layoffs and cutting some programming from HBO Max as it prepares to combine that service and the nonfiction-focused Discovery+ next year.

Cable (34.4 percent of TV use) and broadcast (21.6 percent), meanwhile, both hit their lowest points in the 14 months that Nielsen has been releasing its platform rankings. Cable is down by about 9 percent from the same point a year ago, while broadcast networks slipped by 10 percent. There’s some noise in that comparison — the Tokyo Olympics and delayed NBA and NHL playoff contests were airing on broadcast and cable outlets a year ago — but both platforms have been trending down for several months, coinciding with streaming’s steady rise.

Other TV use, including gaming, physical media playback and streaming from cable set-top boxes (which don’t credit individual streaming services), made up the remaining 9.2 percent of total usage in July.

Netflix was the top individual streamer with 8 percent of all TV usage. YouTube (7.3 percent), Hulu (3.6 percent) and Amazon’s Prime Video (3 percent) all improved month to month, while Disney+ (1.8 percent) slipped a little. HBO Max was steady at 1 percent.

Nielsen’s Gauge rankings for July are below.

Platforms

Streaming: 34.8 percent
Cable: 34.4 percent
Broadcast: 21.6 percent
Other: 9.2 percent

Streaming Services

Netflix: 8 percent
YouTube (including YouTube TV): 7.3 percent
Hulu (including Hulu + Live): 3.6 percent
Prime Video: 3 percent
Disney+: 1.8 percent
HBO Max: 1 percent
All others: 10.2 percent