Streaming viewership fell 1.7% in September – its second consecutive month of decline – as the arrival of college football and the National Football League boosted broadcast viewing among 18 to 54 year olds.
According to Nielsen’s The Gauge report, streaming made up 37.5% of total viewing for the month, compared to 23% for broadcast and 29.8% for cable.
Viewership across broadcast television increased 13% in September, while viewing of sports programming on broadcast skyrocketed by 360%, compared to 222% in the same period a year ago. Broadcast viewing increased 26% among 12 to 17 year olds, 35% among 18 to 49 year olds and almost 33% among 25 to 54 year olds. Meanwhile, streaming usage and cable viewing among 12 to 17 year olds declined 19% and 15%, respectively.
Sporting events on cable saw a 25.5% bump in viewing, though overall cable viewership slipped 1.1% from the previous month, led by declines of 10% and 5.9% for the news and feature film genres, respectively. ESPN carried the top 11 telecasts: 10 were football-related, and the U.S. Open took ninth place.
In addition to broadcast and cable’s gains from sports, Prime Video saw a 7.5% bump in viewership from NFL’s Thursday Night Football and the second season of Wheel of Time. The two Thursdays with games represented the highest viewing days for Prime Video.
Of total streaming viewership for the month, YouTube continued to lead with a 9% share, followed by Netflix (7.8%), Prime Video and Hulu (3.6% each), Disney+ (1.9%), Tubi (1.3%), Max (1.2%), The Roku Channel and Peacock (1.1% each), Paramount+ (1%) and Pluto TV (0.8%). Other streaming services made up the remaining 5%.
“With limited new scripted content forthcoming in the short term, sports will remain a prime option for viewers, especially as the new NHL and NBA seasons start in October,” Nielsen wrote. “Compared with the NFL, NHL and NBA games span broadcast and cable channels, which could play a role in TV viewing behaviors next month.”