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Nielsen's Latest Numbers Undermine All Those Recent Negative Headlines About Streaming TV

The entertainment landscape has drastically changed over the last decade. With the advent of streaming, consumers around the world have been ditching their pricy cable subscriptions in favor of online platforms that speak to their interests. American telecommunications giant Comcast, for example, lost over one million subscribers during the first six months of 2022 (via CNBC). Comcast and the rest of the cable industry aren't going by the way of the dinosaurs, however — they're pivoting. Most major players these days are boasting their own streaming services, including Comcast, the company behind Peacock.

While streaming has become the new normal, it hasn't been able to escape criticism. Recent years have seen a surge in the number of services, which has led to overwhelming viewers, according to a Nielsen State of Play report. With so many options, some TV shows aren't able to find the right audience due to a lack of marketing and landing page resonance, which has led to several getting canceled. Just take a look at Netflix's mounting TV cancellations. As for streaming serving as a way to escape the suffocating cable packages? Think again — companies like Walmart are bundling streaming services like Paramount+ into their already existing subscriptions.

While streaming is no longer the messiah of entertainment it once was considered, Nielsen's latest numbers prove that viewers are more than comfortable ditching traditional means of consumption.

Nielsen's latest numbers confirm viewers are watching more TV on streaming than on cable

American viewers have a new preferred way to watch TV. Nielsen's numbers from July 2022 reveal that, for the first time, streaming services received more TV viewership than traditional cable networks (via Variety), although not by much — streaming accounted for 34.8% of TV viewership, which is only slightly above cable's 34.4%.

Overall, Netflix takes the cake in terms of total minutes of TV viewed, with 8.0%. July was a particularly successful month for the streamer with the release of animated adventure "The Sea Beast," action flick "The Gray Man," and Season 4 Volume 2 of "Stranger Things." YouTube, which includes YouTube TV, fell into second place, with 7.3% of viewership.

Hulu came in third place, with 3.6% of viewership, likely thanks to the second season of "Only Murders in the Building" (which has already been renewed for a third season) and the pulse-pounding kitchen drama series "The Bear," which captivated audiences with its debut season. Behind Hulu's impressive numbers is Amazon Prime, with 3.0%, which can be attributed to the new series "The Terminal List" and Season 3  of "The Boys." Disney+ and HBO Max accounted for 1.8% and 1.0% of viewership, respectively.

On the whole, TV viewership via streaming increased 3.2% in July compared to the previous month, proving that it's here to stay.