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Broadcast, Cable Made Up Less Than Half Of All July TV Use

Photo by Jakob Owens via Unsplash

Broadcast, Cable Made Up Less Than Half Of All July TV Use

By Movieguide® Contributor

A new report found that broadcast and cable TV networks made up less than half of all total TV use in the month of July. 

This is the first time linear TV viewing has fallen below 50% in the Nielsen ratings since they began tracking TV viewing by platform two years ago.

The Hollywood Reporter stated that overall TV use was up in July but that the growth came from streaming services “which hit an all-time high of 38.7 percent of all TV usage — and the ‘other use’ category, which includes video games played on a TV screen and physical media playback, among other things. That made up 11.6 percent of usage.”

Broadcast networks’ viewership was down to 20%, a small drop from its 20.8% in June, while cable networks ranked 29.6%, down from June’s 30.6%.

These drops have affected major programs, as well. For example, CNN’s live town hall telecast with former president Donald Trump received many fewer views than expected. 

The Detroit News wrote, “The 70-minute [town hall] broadcast attracted an audience of just 3.3 million viewers, about a third less than the number of people watching an episode of CELEBRITY WHEEL OF FORTUNE on ABC the same night.”

While some might say there was simply not a large enough audience for the program, the Detroit News pointed to the decline in households with cable TV. 

“As recently as 2016, when Trump was narrowly elected president, just over 70% of all households with a TV had cable or satellite TV subscriptions,” they wrote. “Today the figure is just under 40%, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, a research firm.”

Part of this decline might be because of rising prices. 

Many have claimed that streaming services are cheaper than cable packages, and an article from CNet.com backed that up, calling a package of streaming services “the cheapest option.” 

However, new research shows that streaming is no longer the cheapest option. Despite this, platforms that have less immoral content may perform better.

Movieguide® previously reported on the decline in cable viewership and how that might boost audiences for family-friendly content:

As streaming services ramp up on original content, millions of Americans continue to pull the plug on cable, leaving a hole for Christian creators to jump into the streaming game.

In a cover story done by Variety said,

“The decline of cable isn’t a new story, but what has started to take hold is a change in narrative inside the industry. Rather than try to prop up what they all know to be a decaying linear business, cable executives are instead focusing on their still-healthy intellectual properties and the brands behind them.”

One arena where services are able to focus is family content.

Though family-friendly content is harder to find on popular services, if you look you can find it.