Streaming Now Accounts for 25% of Television Viewing

In perhaps not-so-surprising news, when people are stuck at home and working from home, they watch more television. 

But beyond stating the obvious, the latest numbers from Nielsen are in, so let’s take a look at how the second quarter of 2020 looked when it comes to television consumption across America.

Naturally, the amount of total television saw a jump during quarantines across the nation. But while live TV consumption did increase during, it was actually on the decline early in the year. In the first quarter of 2020, the average viewers spent 3 hours and 43 minutes a day watching live TV, down from 3 hours 53 minutes in 2019 and 4 hours and 10 minutes in 2018. 

Streaming though, has been on the rise all year. The average weekly streaming minutes for the second quarter of 2020 was 142.5 billion, around a 75% increase from 2019’s average of 81.7 billion minutes a week. 

Netflix was the most popular streaming option, making up 34% of all streaming for the quarter. YouTube (the traditional site, not the live TV service) was second at 20% with Hulu accounting for 11% and Amazon taking 8%. Despite being relatively new on the scene compared to the others, Disney+ rounded out the top five with 4% of the total streaming minutes – likely due to a large number of kids home from school. 

That growth means that streaming now accounts for 25% of all television viewing. And while every age bracket saw streaming growth in Q2 of 2020, the 55 and older group saw the biggest gains year-over-year. Making up just 19% of total streaming minutes in 2019, those age 55 and up now accounts for 26% of all minutes streamed. 

The average number of streaming services used is on the rise too, with 25% of adults adding a new service in the past three months. Only 2% of adults decreased their number of services. Compared to 2019 numbers, the percent of homes with an on-demand streaming video subscription rose from 70% to 74%.

Even though the increase in television consumption wasn’t a surprise, it’s interesting to see just how much streaming is growing. And with the 55 and older crowd showing the largest gains (traditional television largest stronghold), we may finally start to reach a point when streaming starts to gain serious ground. 

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