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Streaming hits all-time weekly high in December, according to The Gauge – Nielsen

From a total viewing perspective, streaming was the clear outlier during the week of Christmas, as Americans watched a total of 183 billion minutes – an all-time high –  across the growing range of over-the-top platforms. It was enough viewing to surpass the 160 million minutes of streaming that were viewed in March 2020 when the U.S. began watching less TV. The increase in streaming viewing gave streamers 33% viewing of total TV viewing over the week ending December 31, which was the highest as per SME.

From a reporting standpoint, this month’s edition of The Gauge expands the granularity of the data we provide. We have increased viewing share calculation to show an additional decimal instead of rounding. This data will allow you to view month-tomonth variations in viewing share. In December, broadcast viewing dropped one share point and the “other” category, which includes video on-demand content, cable set top box streaming, gaming, and DVD usage, gained 1.6% share on the strength of video gaming, during what could be considered the “premiere season” in that category.  Overall, streaming was steady at 28%.

Let me take you to the details of our methodology.

You can see Brian Fuhrer (SVP Product Strategy, SME) giving a behind-the scenes view of some of The Gauge’s viewing adjustments.


Monthly macroanalysis by The Gauge of consumer access across major television platforms including Broadcast and Streaming. This chart includes information about the top streaming providers. This chart shows individual streaming distributors’ share of each category as well as total TV usage.

The Gauge data is created from two separate weighted panels. SME’s streaming data is derived from a subset of Streaming Meter-enabled TV households within the National TV panel. The linear TV sources (Broadcast and Cable), as well as total usage are based on viewing from SME’s overall TV panel.

The data are based upon a particular viewing period. The data, representing a 5 week month, includes a combination of Live+7 for weeks 1 – 4 in the data time period. Note: Live+7 also includes live TV viewing and viewing for up to seven additional days. You can view up to 3 days after the broadcast, and live +3 is television viewing.

Within The Gauge, “Other” includes all other TV. It includes any tuning other than the one shown, unmeasured sources, streaming over a cable box, gaming, or other devices (DVD playback). Because streaming via cable set top boxes does not credit respective streaming distributors, these are included in the “Other” category. SME will continue to work towards crediting individual streaming distributors via cable set-top boxes as we improve our Streaming Meter technology.

Streaming platforms listed as “Other Streaming” includes any high-bandwidth video streaming on television that is not individually broken out.

Hulu Live viewing is included in Hulu, and Youtube viewing includes Youtube TV.

The encoded live TV (or encoded linear streaming) is available under both Broadcast and Cable groups. Hulu TV, Youtube TV, and Other Streaming MVPD/vMVPD Apps. MVPD is multichannel video programming distributer. This service provides several television channels. Distributors who aggregate TV programming from multiple networks are known as vMVPDs. They offer a subscription that allows for standalone access to the content.

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