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Streaming has overtaken cable viewership for the first time ever

It was always going to happen, it was just a matter of when.

Streaming services on tv
Image: Unsplash

It was almost inevitable, and the time has finally come. Streaming has taken over cable with the highest percentage of TV watch time for the month of July for the first time ever.

New data recently published by Nielsen has revealed that Americans watched more TV content through streaming platforms than they did on cable last month.

Despite the rapid growth of streaming services over the last few years, this is the first time that streaming has been number one in this category.

It comes as streaming viewing saw an increase of around 3 percent from June. Viewers watched an average of more than 190 billion minutes of streamed content per week.

This was helped in part by major releases on Netflix. Viewers watched nearly 18 billion minutes of Stranger Things in July, thanks to the release of the latest season.

Viewership graphic july 2022
Image: Nielsen

And 11 billion more minutes were spent watching Virgin River and The Umbrella Academy. This is great news for Netflix, which is struggling with a loss of longtime subscribers.

On the other hand, cable viewership decreased by around 2 percent in July. This was due, in part, to the end of the NBA and NHL seasons, as sports remain one of the biggest draws for cable viewers.

Another factor of streaming growth that Nielsen pointed out is digital TV subscriptions.

Platforms like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV, along with cable providers’ own digital options (like Xfinity Stream from Comcast and Spectrum TV App from Charter), add up to more than 11 percent of total streaming.

And these numbers don’t even account for mobile or web-based streaming. It only looks at programming viewed on TVs, so streaming’s share is likely even higher.

This felt like an inevitable step in the evolution of television. Streaming has been soaring in popularity, a lot of the time at cable TV’s expense.

It will be interesting to see how quickly streaming can widen the gap on cable viewership.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at alex@knowtechie.com

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