‘Suits’ Ushers In Streaming Boom As Broadcast & Cable Fall To Record Lows In July, Nielsen Says

It’s a streaming world, and we’re just living in it.

It is no secret that streaming dominates the TV landscape, but Nielsen measured a new (and somewhat grim) milestone for broadcast and cable in July’s edition of the company’s monthly state of TV report, The Gauge.

For the first time, linear TV viewership accounted for less than 50% of all TV usage in a measurement month.

According to Nielsen, broadcast and cable each represented record low shares at 20% and 29.6% of total TV usage, respectively, to combine for a linear television total of 49.6%. Compared to this time last year, broadcast viewing was down 5.4%, and cable viewing was down 12.5%.

On a month-over-month basis, broadcast viewing fell 3.6% in July and cable viewing was down 2.9%. Nielsen reports that dramas remained the top broadcast genre, but the top programs of the month were actually ABC World News Tonight and the MLB All Star Game on Fox. As for cable, sports took the cake as usual, with ESPN’s Home Run Derby and College World Series at the top.

Then, there was streaming. Viewing across streamers increase by 2.9% from June to July and has ballooned 25.3% in the past year. It now represents 38.7% of total TV usage, which is a new record-high for the second consecutive month.

Netflix was a major contributor to the increase in streaming viewership (with a 4.2% increase in its share of total TV usage), assisted by none other than Suits. The legal dramedy has taken over screens across the U.S. since it debuted on Netflix and Peacock simultaneously in June, breaking Nielsen records with nearly 4B minutes viewed in just one measurement week.

In July, Suits accounted for 18B viewing minutes. To put that into perspective, Nielsen says that Stranger Things also managed 18B viewing minutes last July with the conclusion of Season 4. Put more plainly, people are watching a lot of Suits.

See a snapshot of the TV viewing landscape below.

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