Linear TV Viewership Sees Boost In August But Still Down Year-Over-Year; Peacock & Paramount+ Mark Their Territory In Streaming

Linear TV viewership made somewhat of a comeback in August after dropping to an all-time low in July, Nielsen reported in its latest monthly state of TV report, The Gauge.

Combined viewing for broadcast and cable managed to eke back to 50.6% of total TV usage, with broadcast recording its first gain since January. Broadcast accounted for 20.4% of TV usage, which is a 1.4% gain month-over-month. As for cable, it recorded the largest monthly category across all three categories, ballooning 1.7%.

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Broadcast was buoyed by variety programming like America’s Got Talent and Big Brother, but drama and news were the most-watched broadcast genres in August. On cable, NFL preseason events and the first presidential debate were to thank.

But while linear TV saw a short-term boost, it is still declining rapidly on a yearly basis. Broadcast viewing in August was down 5.5% year-over-year and cable viewing was down 10.6%.

Meanwhile streaming saw a bit of a decline to 38.3% but still remained the largest share of television for the month. Nielsen credits students returning to school for the blow to streaming, as 80% of the decline came from viewers age 2-17.

Suits was still dominating streaming in August with 11.7B minutes viewed across Netflix and Peacock. The second most-watched series was Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer at 4.5B minutes. Disney+ took the third and fourth place spots with Bluey and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

However, it was Peacock that managed the largest increase among the streamers with an 8.3% rise in usage thanks to WWE SummerSlam, shared coverage of the NFL Hall of Fame Game, and the release of The Super Mario Brothers Movie. Paramount+ also saw success with Special Ops: Lioness and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to boost its usage by 4.2%.

See more details in the graphic below.

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