New Ratings Numbers Show Huge Jump in Streaming

Nielsen just released an interesting new report on streaming and how it compares to older forms of TV including broadcast, cable and satellite. The company's new "State of Play" data estimates that the total time spent streaming jumped by about 18 percent from February of 2021 to February of 2022. The company has more data on which services people are using and what kind of shows they're watching there as well.

Nielsen's data examined the estimated weekly time spent streaming. It found that in February of 2021, the world was streaming for 143.2 billion minutes per week, while in February of 2022 the world was streaming for 169.4 billion minutes per week. The company concludes that a big reason for this jump is the ever-increasing number of new and exciting shows to watch – especially as streamers eschew the old seasonal model that broadcast TV used. Another reason was the return of live sports and other live events following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nielsen ran polls to accompany this data and shed light on viewers' mentality. According to a report by Deadline, 72 percent of Americans agreed with this statement: "I love my user experience with video streaming services. On top of that, 93 percent of Americans said that they either intend to keep all the streaming subscriptions they have currently or increase the number in the near future.

The report also warned that producers may be approaching maximum capacity for new productions. It said: 'Streaming appetites aside, the amount of time in any given day is fixed, and the increasingly vast landscape has many consumers feeling maxed out and unsure where to find the content they're most interested in." This means the "abundance of choice has survey respondents feeling overwhelmed by too many options."

Practically speaking, this means that producing more shows and movies may not be the best strategy going forward, since each one creates more clutter and competition – even within a single streaming service. On the other hand, it also explains the recent focus on streamlined interfaces at companies like Amazon and Google, which make the streaming hardware itself.

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Nielsen's report also estimated a considerable growth in Multichannel Video Programming Distributor services (MVPD) like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV and so on. This lines up with an earnings report by Fox not long ago which boasted a huge increase in users on Tubi. Even as expensive cable packages become a thing of the past, users are apparently turning to ad-supported, centralized services for many of their streaming needs.