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U.S consumers opt for streaming services as Cable TV declines

Americans spent more of their July TV-viewing time streaming content on services like Netflix, YouTube and HBO Max than they did watching cable TV, according to new Nielsen data, the first month ever in which streaming has overtaken cable.

Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video and other platforms set records for share of viewing time

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Streaming captured 34.8% of total U.S. TV viewing time during the month, while cable TV attracted 34.4%, according to Nielsen.

The total time people in the U.S. spent streaming rose 22.6% from a year earlier, while cable-viewing time declined 8.9%, a sign of streaming’s continued ascent while more Americans cut the pay-TV cord.

  • Streaming-service offerings are growing fast, in recent years and are increasingly ingrained in the new in-home entertainment habits.
  • Broadcast TV’s share of viewership shrank further in July to 21.6%, a nearly 10% decline from a year earlier.
  • Netflix Inc. was the most-watched streaming service last month, bolstered by its “Stranger Things” franchise, Nielsen found.


many streaming platforms,including Netflix; Google’s YouTube; Walt Disney Co.-controlled Hulu; and Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video—attracted their highest respective shares of U.S. viewing time in July, topping records set in June, Nielsen said.

The increase in time spent streaming is a good sign for streaming companies trying to add and maintain subscriptions in a crowded market. Still, that growing amount of watch time underscores the importance of streaming companies ensuring they have content that not only draws viewers in, but keeps them long term.

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