Television Streaming Increased 85 Percent During March — Report

Tyler Hersko

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Americans are continuing to hole up indoors and unsurprisingly, streaming is seeing huge spikes in popularity.

A new Nielsen report obtained by Variety said that American consumers spent an estimated 400 billion minutes streaming content to their televisions over the first three weeks of March, an 85 percent increase from the same period in March 29. Nielsen confirmed the data to IndieWire.

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While television viewing is on the rise regardless of the medium, streaming video services are becoming especially popular. Nielsen noted that internet streamers totaled 23 percent of all viewing being done on televisions, compared to 16 percent during the same period one year ago. Given that Nielsen’s data only includes streaming to television sets and does not factor in mobile or computer streaming, the actual amount of online streaming is certainly even higher.

Per the report, Netflix has the biggest share of video streaming on television at 29 percent, followed by YouTube with 20 percent, Hulu at 10 percent, and Amazon Prime Video snaggin 9 percent.

Nielsen also reported on Netflix and Prime Video’s top 10 titles. The former’s “Spenser Confidential,” “The Office” (which is leaving Netflix at the end of the year), and “On My Block” lead the pack for most-viewed subscription VOD titles from March 9-15.

The Nielsen report is one of several recent data points that have indicated that streaming is enjoying a massive influx in popularity recently. A recent report from streaming analytics firm Antenna noted that most streaming services are seeing large boosts in subscribers: Disney+ (which Nielsen does not currently cover) saw its subscription rate triple during a three-day period earlier in March, while Netflix saw a 47 percent boost in subscribers during the same period. Other streaming services, including HBO Now, Showtime, and Apple TV+ also saw varying increases.

WarnerMedia also recently reported large viewership increases for its various platforms, including HBO Now. The company said that overall TV viewing across the industry has increased by 20 percent and noted that “Westworld” is currently HBO’s most popular show.

The streaming industry is going to become even more crowded and competitive in the coming months — and not just due to current global events. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming services are still scheduled to launch in May and June, respectively, while Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s Quibi platform is also gearing up for its April 6 launch.

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