Time Spent Streaming Has Risen 18% Over The Past Year, Nielsen Says

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A new report from Nielsen finds that total time spent streaming jumped 18% from February 2021 to February 2022.

The “State of Play” report, drawing on Nielsen panel data, estimated weekly time spent streaming at 169.4 billion minutes, up from 143.2 billion last year.

There has never been more to watch, certainly. Nielsen pegs the number of unique program titles in the U.S. at 817,000 and climbing. Interestingly, only 15% of those titles are exclusive to a particular subscription streaming outlet, as in the case of a show like Stranger Things on Netflix. About 41% of programming, by contrast, is available on multiple subscription streaming outlets on a non-exclusive basis.

While 72% of Americans agreed with the statement, “I love my user experience with video streaming services,” and 93% plan to either increase their streaming options or maintain the status quo, there is still plenty of live TV viewing. Sports accounts for most of that. Between January and September of 2021, live TV represented more than half of the 4 hours and 49 minutes of total TV time, at 2 hours 53 minutes. Time-shifted TV was 34 minutes with connected device use via a TV set (a Roku box or Amazon Fire stick, for example) amounted to 1 hour 22 minutes on average.

“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,” the report said. The findings indicate that the “abundance of choice has survey respondents feeling overwhelmed by too many options.” About half of survey respondents said the increase in options (newer programming and new streaming services) makes it challenging to find what they want.

One bundled solution that has arisen in this environment, of course, has been the virtual MVPD and services like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV and Sling. Nielsen said vMVPD adoption has grown over the past three years from 7.1% of all TV households to 12.5%.

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