Nielsen report sheds light on American video streaming habits


Research firm Nielsen’s latest ‘Total Audience Report’ is its first to tap smart TV data from Gracenote, and focuses on American homes that are (in TechCrunch’s words) “capable of over-the-top streaming” – i.e. Netflix, YouTube etc. Among those homes, streaming accounted for 19% of the TV time in the final quarter of 2019.

Netflix was the biggest service, accounting for 31% of those streaming hours, ahead of YouTube (21%), Hulu (12%) and Amazon (8%).

Given the high penetration of YouTube in the US even among older demographics (58% of those aged 65+ watch it, according to Statista), overlapping that with these Nielsen numbers would suggest that smart TV users are less drawn to it because they want to watch long-form content on their TV and regard YouTube as primarily for short-form content that is more suited to (and convenient to access on) laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The Nielsen report also had an audio-only focus and found that 64% of US adults in the US streamed audio on their smartphones and 25% stream on their tablets. Also of note in this study is the finding that, in a study of 1,000 respondents, 91% pay for a streaming video service while 30% said they paid for three or more. On the audio side, 63% said they paid for a streaming music service and 53% paid for two.

Written by: Eamonn Forde