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Streaming outperforms both cable and broadcast TV for the first time ever

Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images
The Netflix logo is seen on the company's building on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. The streaming giant is one of many platforms that contributed to streaming outperforming both broadcast and cable in TV viewership numbers for July.

Streaming platforms have finally done it. For the first time ever, streaming services captured more viewers than cable or broadcast TV, according to new data from Nielsen.

You may be thinking to yourself that your noble contributions of binging critically acclaimed series meant streaming had surely taken the top spot before now. And you're right – at least partially. Streaming has outperformed broadcast in a single month before, but never broadcast and cable in the same month.

In the U.S., streaming captured 34.8% of viewership in July, while cable accounted for 34.4% and broadcast came in third at 21.6%.

Weekly streaming in July passed pandemic highs

Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was a general summer couch potato vibe. Either way, audiences spent an average of 190.9 billion minutes streaming content per week in July. That's compared to an average weekly streaming time of 169.9 billion minutes in April 2020.

July also sees a slowdown in traditional TV, with most shows on pause until their fall premieres, and a break in sports entertainment, following the end of the NBA and NHL seasons.

July included wins for certain streaming platforms

Viewers spent a lot of time with new seasons of fan favorites like Netflix's Stranger Things and Hulu's Only Murders in the Building.

Fans of Stranger Things watched nearly 18 billion minutes of the show in July; consumers spent another nearly 11 billion minutes streaming Virgin River and The Umbrella Academy.

On Hulu, the second season of Only Murders in the Building and a new show, The Bear, brought in a total of 3 billion minutes of viewership for the platform.

Amazon Prime also saw more than 8 billion minutes in viewership with its new series The Terminal List and new episodes of The Boys bringing people in.

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