Traditional TV adds viewers in August as back-to-school dents streaming


(Reuters) – More people in the U.S. turned to traditional TV for news and drama shows in August, with the start of the back-to-school season making a slight dent on the streaming viewership, market researcher Nielsen said.

The combined share of broadcast and cable television, rose to 50.6% of total TV usage in August from 49.6% in July, according to Nielsen’s monthly report on the state of the television market.

Traditional TV was boosted by a 1.7% rise in cable, fueled by the NFL pre-season kick-off and the first Republican candidate debate which started off the U.S. presidential election cycle.

Broadcast viewership, which has declined since January, rose 1.6% in August, thanks to shows like “America’s Got Talent” on NBC and “Big Brother” on CBS.

Drama and news, however, continued to be the most-watched genres, accounting for 16.9% and 24.8% of the broadcast viewership, respectively, in August.

Streaming saw a sequential decline of 1.6% in viewers to 38.3% last month, but still accounted for the largest share of viewership.

Nearly 80% of the drop was attributed to younger viewers aged 2-17, returning to school after providing a summer bump in viewership.

Nielsen said that despite the seasonal weakness in streaming, the category has gained 7.0 share points since August last year.

Comcast’s Peacock made the most gains among streaming services last month powered by events such as “WWE SummerSlam”, shared coverage of the “NFL Hall of Fame Game”, and the success of “The Super Mario Brothers Movie”.

Legal dramas “Suits” and “The Lincoln Lawyer” were the top two streaming titles in August, Nielsen said.

(Reporting by Samrhitha Arunasalam in Bengaluru and Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles; Editing by Tasim Zahid)

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