“Sports Dominate October Broadcasts, Fueling Impressive Ratings Surge”

For the second straight month, broadcast networks increased their share of TV use — and for the second straight month, sports was the primary driver of those gains. Nielsen’s monthly Gauge rankings …
"Sports Dominate October Broadcasts, Fueling Impressive Ratings Surge"

Broadcast Networks See Increase in TV Use Thanks to Sports

In a delightful turn of events, broadcast networks have once again seen a rise in their share of TV use for the second consecutive month. According to Nielsen’s monthly Gauge rankings for October, broadcast networks captured 24.6 percent of TV use in the United States, marking their best performance since January.

The increase in broadcast viewing, which rose by 9 percent from the previous month, can be attributed to the popularity of sports. With the NFL and college football seasons in full swing, along with Fox’s coverage of baseball’s postseason, including the highly anticipated World Series, it’s no wonder that sports accounted for 30 percent of all broadcast viewing in October.

Interestingly, scripted dramas, which typically dominate fall broadcast viewing, experienced a decline this year. Due to the industry’s labor strikes, only a handful of scripted shows were running on networks, causing the share of scripted dramas to drop from 27 percent in October 2022 to 18 percent this year.

While cable saw an increase in sports and news viewing compared to September, its overall share of viewing slipped slightly to 29.5 percent. This marks the lowest mark for cable since Nielsen began its monthly platform rankings in 2021.

Streaming platforms also experienced a decline, with a decrease of 0.9 share points, bringing streaming’s share of use to 36.6 percent. However, it’s important to note that part of this decline is due to Nielsen’s revised methodology, which now accurately differentiates between Hulu’s SVOD service and its Hulu Live offering. As a result, viewing of broadcast or cable programming on Hulu Live is now credited to those platforms rather than streaming. This change caused Hulu’s SVOD service to fall from 3.6 percent in September to 3.1 percent in October.

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Nielsen’s Gauge rankings for October 2023 reveal the following breakdown:

– Streaming: 36.6 percent of TV use

– Cable: 29.5 percent

– Broadcast: 24.6 percent

– Other: 9.3 percent

In terms of streaming services, YouTube continues to dominate with 9.1 percent of TV use, followed by Netflix at 7.2 percent. Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+ also maintain a strong presence, with 3.6 percent, 3.1 percent, and 1.9 percent respectively.

It’s fascinating to see how viewership patterns evolve and shift over time. As we continue to enjoy our favorite sports events and eagerly anticipate the return of scripted dramas, it’s clear that broadcast networks are keeping us entertained and engaged.