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Asian American audiences are leaders in streaming media use

3 minute read | May 2024

Streaming’s popularity continues to surge ahead. As of the March edition of Nielsen’s The GaugeTM, streaming had grown 12% on an annual basis among U.S. adults. Major streaming players are investing big dollars in programming to attract audiences. And ad-supported options are proliferating, meeting the demand from even more viewers like the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. 

The AANHPHI audience brings $1.3 trillion buying power and is the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. With more media platforms available than ever before, understanding how and where AANHPI audiences are consuming content is critical for brands and businesses.  While Asian Americans spend less total time with media than any other segment of the U.S. population, they are heavy users of digital media, including streaming. For marketers figuring out how to incorporate streaming into their media plans, Asian Americans could be a key audience to focus on.

Streaming gains share with Asian American TV use

As reported in Nielsen’s most recent Diverse Intelligence Series report, Asian audiences 18 and older in the U.S. spend 17.5 hours with TV in a given week. While this is less than the 32 hours spent weekly by the general population, AANHPI audiences spend a larger percentage of their overall TV time with streaming. In January 2024, streaming made up 45.4% of Asian Americans’ TV usage, compared with 36.0% for the general U.S. population, according to Nielsen’s The GaugeTM.  

Year over year, Asian Americans’ use of streaming grew 5.6% from January 2023. And streaming continues to gain ground. In March 2024, streaming rose to 48.2% of AANHPI audiences’ total TV time. 

The good news for advertisers is that Asian Americans are leaning into ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) viewing, which made up 31% of their streaming as of January 2024, compared with 27% for the total population. 

AANHPI streaming use stretches across devices

Beyond TV, AANHPI viewers spend 17 hours per week with their smartphones–which is in line with the total population. However, AANHPI audiences’ level of engagement with mobile devices represents more than a third of their total media time.

On smartphones, Asians outpace other viewers for using streaming platform apps—especially ad-supported ones. In an average month, YouTube’s mobile app reaches 85% of AANHPI adults. Sling TV is also particularly appealing with its international TV content, especially in South Asian and East Asian languages. AANHPI viewers are 37% more likely to use the app than the general population.

Incorporating streaming into your media plans

The reality is that audiences of ad-supported streaming platforms continue to grow. For example, in February 2024, YouTube captured 9.3% of TV usage, a platform-best. But not all audiences are adopting at the same pace. While age and gender have traditionally been the focus driving media buys, advanced audience segments can help marketers better plan to reach audiences that are leaning in. 

The media consumption behaviors of the AANHPI audiences don’t follow traditional norms. For example, Asians 50+ spend the most time on connected TV devices compared to other groups who tend to watch more linear TV. Given that Asian Americans are heavy streamers, advertisers can focus on engaging this audience across ad-supported streaming platforms as part of their cross-media campaigns.

Learn more about the value of streaming within a cross-media campaign in Nielsen’s 2024 Annual Marketing Report.

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