YouTube Accounted for Nearly 10% of All TV Viewing in March, Nielsen Says

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It’s the largest share for a streaming platform ever recorded by The Gauge, despite a 3% drop in total television viewership

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YouTube was once again the breakout star of Nielsen’s monthly The Gauge report. During the month of March, the platform accounted for 9.7% of all television viewing, an increase of 0.4 share points from February.

This is the largest share of TV for a streaming platform ever reported in The Gauge. This month marked YouTube’s 13th consecutive month as having the largest share among streaming services.

Overall, TV usage dropped 3% from February to March, which wasn’t a surprise. This drop aligns with seasonal trends Nielsen has previously recorded. However, cable and streaming felt this impact the least.

Unsurprisingly, streaming was the category winner of March as it was the only category to see a year-over-year increase. Compared to March of 2023, streaming viewership rose 12%, and the category added 4.4 share points.

Streaming was also minimally impacted during the February-to-March drop. Viewership for streaming fell just 1%, resulting in a 38.5% share of overall TV viewed for the month of March. Though YouTube was the most watched streamer, accounting for the aforementioned 9.7% of total TV viewed, Netflix was close behind, making up 8.1% of the category. The company also boasted three of the month’s most-watched streaming originals, which resulted in a combined nearly 15 million viewing minutes for March: “Love Is Blind,” “The Gentleman” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

Though cable wasn’t as impacted from February to March, it did experience a year-over-year decline. The category saw a decline of 10% and a loss of 2.8 share points when compared to the same time period in 2023.

Viewing on cable from February to March saw a 0.7-point bump in share points, resulting in 28.3% of all television being watched on cable networks. This was partially due to college basketball viewership, specifically viewership around the women’s NCAA tournament. The matchup between Iowa and West Virginia brought in 4.9 million viewers on ESPN and ranked as the No. 7 cable telecast for the month. The State of the Union also gave cable a viewership bump, earning 14.1 million viewers for cable and 32.3 million viewers altogether.

Last and — this time — least, the most impacted category of the month was broadcast. The category accounted for 22.5% of overall TV viewership in March, a 6% decline compared to February. This number also marked a 4% decline for broadcast, year-over-year.

Despite this drop, The Gauge report made note of broadcast’s resiliency. Since the report was first released in 2021, broadcast has always made up the smallest share of overall TV viewership, originally accounting for 25.4% of TV compared to cable’s 39.5% and streaming’s 26.2%. But in the past 36 months, broadcast has only lost 2.9 share points, compared to the 11.2 points that have been lost by cable. During this time period, streaming has gained over 12 points.


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