Video Streaming to TVs Soared 85% in U.S. in First Three Weeks of March, Nielsen Says

During the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are staying home — and, as you would expect, they’re streaming more than ever.

U.S. consumers’ viewing of streaming has continued to increase through March. Over the first three weeks of March 2020, the total estimated number of minutes streamed to the TV was 400 billion, up 85% compared with the comparable three-week period in 2019, according to a Nielsen analysis.

And during the week of March 16, consumers watched about 156.1 billion minutes of streaming content on TV, up 22% from the week prior, and 2.2 times the comparable week the year prior.

In addition, amid higher TV viewing overall, streaming video services have steadily increased their share of time spent viewing on televisions, increasing over the past four weeks, Nielsen found. For the week of March 16, internet streamers captured 23% of all viewing being done on TVs, compared with 16% during the same week a year ago.

Note that Nielsen is reporting just streaming to TVs: The analysis doesn’t measure mobile or PC video streaming, so the total amount of online video U.S. consumers are watching is even higher.

Netflix has the biggest share of video streaming on TV among the services Nielsen measures, representing 23% of all streaming minutes viewed for the week of March 16. That’s followed by YouTube at 20%, Hulu at 10% and Amazon Prime Video at 9%.

But Nielsen pointed out the “other” category has seen an ever bigger rise for the most recent week measured. That bucket includes Disney Plus (which is not reported out by Nielsen currently) and the research firm speculated that the Mouse House’s streaming service is seeing a significant lift from kids staying home from school — along with “Frozen 2” dropping three months early on Disney Plus.

Source: Nielsen

The data comes from Nielsen’s Streaming Meter service, which identifies internet streaming activity to the TV by provider and is coupled with the company’s People Meter.

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