Streaming makes up solely 26% of time spent in entrance of TV

Detail of a man’s hand scrolling Netflix on an Apple iPad Pro, captured on March 6, 2020.

Phil Barker | Future release | Getty Images

The majority of Americans still spend their screen time watching network and cable television, but streaming is picking up pace, according to new data from research firm Nielsen.

Nielsen, best known for measuring television usage in the United States, said Thursday that 64% of the time spent in front of TV was spent on network and cable television, while 26% of the time was spent on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu were spent. Another 8% categorized as “Other” includes video-on-demand, streaming from cable set-top boxes, and other TV applications such as gaming and watching DVDs.

Nevertheless, the share of streaming is increasing rapidly. According to The New York Times, about 20% of the time was spent streaming last year. That could reach 33% by the end of the year, the report added.

Nielsen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Streaming companies have continued to gain dominance as consumers move away from traditional pay-TV and many seek entertainment alternatives during the pandemic. Nearly 7 million American households likely stopped their traditional pay-TV service in 2020, a record high. The average American is now paying for four video streaming services, according to a Deloitte poll in April.

Netflix and YouTube, owned by Google, have made it out to be winners of the streaming wars so far, according to the data, with both holding 6% of total streaming time. Disney’s Hulu followed 3% of the time, while Amazon Prime Video took 2% and Disney recorded + 1%.

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