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Audiences’ share of time streaming hits new high in March

4 minute read | April 2022

Total usage of TV down, but streaming accounted for nearly 30% of total time with TV

March marked a new milestone for streaming, as audiences spent nearly 30% of their total TV time watching over-the-top video content. Gaining a full share point over February, streaming services benefited from the transition away from the finale of professional football and the Olympics, which bolstered fall and winter TV viewing across broadcast networks.

Despite a slight 0.7% decrease in total streaming, viewing share across all of the streaming providers captured in The Gauge was either flat or gained slightly in March, with the “other streaming” category grabbing an additional 0.3% share as new services steadily gain traction in an ever-expanding field (“other streaming” includes any high-bandwidth video streaming on TV that is not individually broken out) .

The slight dip in streaming usage was much less than the 4.2% drop in total TV usage, which tracks with historical norms as consumers begin to ease into warmer weather. Despite the dip in total usage, audiences spent more TV time with cable, as the ongoing war in Ukraine fueled an increase of 1.6 share points on a slight increase in total volume. 

Broadcast programming lost more than a full share point, with sports viewing down 53% on a month-over-month basis. NASCAR and the NCAA basketball tournaments helped satiate some viewers, but not enough to account for the draw of the Olympics and the Super Bowl, causing the “sports event programming” share of viewing to fall from almost 25% to 12% in March. Dramas provided some upside for broadcast, as a 17% increase in viewing helped it account for one-third of total broadcast viewing.



Take me to the methodology details below.

Watch the video to hear Brian Fuhrer, SVP, Product Strategy at Nielsen provide a behind the scenes look at some of the viewing changes underpinning The Gauge.



The Gauge provides a monthly macroanalysis of how consumers are accessing content across key television delivery platforms, including Broadcast, Streaming, Cable and Other sources. It also includes a breakdown of the major, individual streaming distributors. The chart itself shows the share by category and of total television usage by individual streaming distributors.

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