Drama and sports bolster broadcast viewing in October, according to The Gauge – Nielsen

Headlines about wildly popular streaming programs aside, the combination of live sports and the new fall TV lineup was a boon for broadcast television in October. According to The Gauge, Nielsen’s total TV and streaming snapshot, broadcast gained 2 share points to represent 28% of total TV viewing in October. The uptick is the second consecutive monthly gain for broadcast, with time spent in October equal to time spent with streaming content. To gain share, cable and “other” each gave ground from a share perspective.

Two key genres were responsible for the rise in broadcast viewership: Sports, which was up 22% from September, and general drama, which increased a whopping 30% as viewers gravitated to the new programming season, which is now in full swing. Combined, sports and general drama accounted for 35% of the time viewers spent watching broadcast programming in October. 

While streaming’s total share of TV remained flat, The Gauge highlights two notable changes beneath the surface of the 28% share metric:

  • Linear streamers (e.g., Charter/Spectrum, DirecTV, SlingTV, etc.), which are included in the “other streaming” category, saw double-digit viewership growth
  • Netflix gained a share point to account for 7% of total viewing, with actual minutes viewed rising 5.5% on the strength of high-profile hits like Squid Game, You and Maid.

Total minutes viewed across Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ was down about 2.5% each; Hulu viewership was down 0.3%, while YouTube viewership increased 2.2%, amplified by the company’s linear offering.

Take me to the methodology details below.

Watch the video to hear Brian Fuhrer, SVP, Product Strategy at Nielsen dive into the interesting underpinnings of The Gauge. Stay tuned to see if broadcast will maintain its momentum next month or if new content being introduced on the streaming services will lure viewers to that platform. 


The Gauge provides a monthly macroanalysis of how consumers are accessing content across key television delivery platforms, including Broadcast, Streaming, Cable and Other sources. It also includes a breakdown of the major, individual streaming distributors. The chart itself shows the share by category and of total television usage by individual streaming distributors.

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