TV Revolution: Cable and Broadcast Sink as Streaming Dominance Soars to New Heights

Cable and Broadcast Sink: The acceleration of the decline in traditional broadcast and cable television viewership has reached a significant milestone, with July marking the first time that these formats fell below a major threshold.

According to Nielsen, linear TV accounted for less than half of total TV viewing in July. Both broadcast and cable TV experienced their lowest-ever shares of viewership, comprising just a combined 49.6%. Concurrently, streaming services like Netflix and YouTube achieved a new record, making up 38.7% of total TV consumption.

The viewership for broadcast TV decreased by 3.6% in July, constituting only 20% of total TV viewership. Cable TV also saw a decline of 2.9%, accounting for 29.6%. When comparing year-over-year figures, broadcast TV witnessed a slide of 5.4%, while cable TV experienced a substantial drop of 12.5%.

In contrast, streaming saw an impressive surge of 25.3% year over year in July. Three prominent services, YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video, reached record-high shares. Among these, YouTube led with a 9.2% share, followed by Netflix at 8.5%, and Hulu at 3.6%.

Nielsen highlighted that acquired TV series, rather than original content from streaming platforms, played a significant role in driving usage. Notably, shows like “Suits,” a legal drama featuring Meghan Markle, which premiered on Netflix, and “Bluey,” available on Disney+, emerged as the most-watched streaming programs in July, accumulating a total of 23 billion viewing minutes.

Although the findings of the report were largely anticipated, they underscore an important turning point for both the average American TV viewer and the industry as a whole. Entertainment companies are investing substantial resources into strengthening their streaming services to ensure future relevance. CNN, owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, which possesses multiple cable networks and the Max streaming platform, is one such example.

Nevertheless, the golden era of streaming might be waning. The intense battle to secure subscribers at any cost appears to be concluding, leading streaming services to increase prices to bolster their profits.

Recently, Disney announced its second price hike for Disney+ in less than a year, raising the monthly fee of its ad-free plan by $3 to $13.99 starting in October. Hulu, of which Disney holds a majority stake, is also increasing its ad-free subscription cost by $3 to $17.99. Consequently, the price of Disney+ has doubled since its launch four years ago, and Hulu’s ad-free tier now surpasses the cost of the most popular Netflix plan.

Other services like Max, Paramount+, and Peacock have also disclosed similar price hikes earlier this year.

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