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Streaming viewership has finally surpassed cable tv

Streaming networks have been climbing the ladder for a little over a decade, but now, they’re finally passed cable TV viewership numbers.

TV and remote showing Youtube streaming service and channel store

Streaming viewership passed cable for the first time this month. Spoiler Alert: Thanks Stranger Things! For real. More on that later.

Nielsen said the summer broadcast slowdown helped push it higher.

Streaming viewership in a given month has exceeded broadcast viewing before, but this is the first time it has also surpassed cable viewing.

Interestingly, streaming viewership passed pandemic high levels. In July, audiences averaged 190.9 billion minutes of streaming, surpassing the 169.9 minutes of lockdown viewing.

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Nielsen said excluding the week of Dec. 27, 2021, the five weeks of July 2022 represent the highest-volume streaming weeks on record, according to Nielsen measurement.

July streaming increased 22.6% on a year-to-year basis. Prime, Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube set records. Netflix gained an 8% share with nearly 18 billion minutes of Stranger Things viewership along with 11 billion combined streaming of Virgin River and The Umbrella Academy.

Hulu’s viewership was led by Only Murders in the Building and The Bear.

Prime was led by the new series The Terminal List and new episodes of The Boys.

And while this growth in viewership is great news for streaming services and those waiting for the next Shondaland or Duffer Brothers hit, the bottom line for budgets might be a different kind of story.

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There are 270 streaming services available to viewers right now. Where cable used to be the all-inclusive key to must-see TV with a few paid add-ons, today viewers have to choose from a plethora of paid streaming channels on their own or add them to their cable subscriptions or, in the case of those who have cut the cord, add to the local stations they pick up with antennas.

Added to that are the network paid stations and all these choices can add up to an expensive a-la-carte television watching experience.

78% of U.S. households have at least a Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or Hulu subscription, compared with 69% in 2018, and 52% in 2015, according to research by Leichtman Research Group.

1 in 4 people report that they spend more than $75 per month on subscriptions, and 1 in 10 have “no idea” how much they spend.

It’s an Upside Down World out there, and if streaming services continue to provide content viewers want, the minutes spent binging will continue to explode in growth.

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Mary Beth Lee retired from teaching in Texas this year after 28 years as a student media adviser. She spends her time these days reading, writing, fighting for public education and enjoying the empty nester life in Downtown Fort Worth.

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