The streaming wars are on. Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ and the rest are at each other’s throats trying to monopolize your viewing time, but exactly how big of a piece of the pie are they fighting for? That’s one the questions illuminated by a new “Total Audience Report” report from Nielsen.
Nielsen, of course, is a data firm known for measuring TV consumption. It’s been around for decades, since long before streaming services were a thing, but it’s adapted to the times. This report is based on a sample of over 40,000 homes, plus a custom online survey about the streaming video and audio services used by 1,000 adults in the U.S.
The big takeaway, for me, is that for as much as we talk about streaming services, they still make up a relatively small portion of what United States citizens watch as compared to normal TV: just 19% during the fourth quarter of 2018. Still, that’s up from 10% in the first quarter of 2018, and I’d expect it just keep growing!
Drilling down further, here’s how the streaming services divide up that 19%.
- Netflix came in first, with a 31% share of all connected-TV viewing in the fourth quarter of 2019.
- YouTube snagged 21%
- Hulu: 12%
- Amazon: 8%
- That leaves 28% to be divided among all the other services out there, including newcomers Disney+ and Apple TV+. And Shudder, don’t forget Shudder.
An important thing to note here is that Nielsen is measuring time streaming stuff on TVs, not mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. And keep in mind that time spent on that stuff is on the rise. According to the report, Americans 18 and older spent three hours and 58 minutes on their mobile phones in the third quarter of 2019. That’s up 58% from the year before, when it was two hours and 31 minutes. Time spent watching video on phones went up by 45% to 16 minutes daily.
Still, I’m counting this as a win for Netflix, which is available on everything anyway. We’ll say it won the Battle of Nielsen Hill.
Another thing that becomes clear from the report is just how much damn stuff there is to watch nowadays, 646,152 unique program titles (TV shows, movies, specials, live sports broadcasts and other programming) in all, up nearly 10% over 2018. Of those titles, about 9% were available exclusively via a subscription VOD service.
Finally, that survey found that 91% of respondents subscribed to some kind of streaming video service. For people 18-34, it was 96%. And 30% of consumers subscribe to three or more. I am part of that 30%.
Do you see yourself in this data? Are we spending all our time texting and not communicating? Discuss.