2 APR 2024

USA: Despite the records generated by the Super Bowl, TV viewership declined in February

The major sporting event drew in 123.7 million viewers; however, TV viewership for February is higher than in previous years (6.4% increase). On the other hand, streaming usage reaches 37.7%, its largest share of total TV since August 2023.

2 APR 2024

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According to a study conducted by Nielsen, TV usage declined in February following the end of the NFL playoffs. While Super Bowl LVIII attracted 123.7 million viewers, the 6.4% dip in viewership for the month was considerably larger than it was in the previous two years (5.7% and 5.1%, respectively).

Broadcast viewing receded following its climb into January, with viewing down 10% overall. The sports genre was a major factor in its decline, as sports viewing dropped 66% in the wake of the NFL playoffs. On a year-over-year basis, the overall drop in broadcast viewing is in line with last year’s 9.2% decline. With some new content in rotation, however, the drama category gained momentum to command 26% of broadcast viewing in February. With all eyes on the Super Bowl in February, CBS used the big game to get audiences excited for its new season, featuring "Tracker", "NCIS", "FBI" and the final season of "Young Sheldon".

Across cable, news viewing increased 7% as audiences tuned in to election year coverage, while sports viewing was down by about one-third. Even without as many sports events, the sports genre still delivered the top programs for cable, with the 2024 NBA All-Star Game simulcast on TNT, TBS and TruTV taking the top slot, followed by the NBA All-Star Saturday Night on TNT and TruTV.

TV viewing typically starts to decline as the spring season approaches. This seasonality affects all TV viewing, but it had less of an impact on streaming in February than the other categories. As a result, streaming usage dipped 1.9%, but the category was able to gain 1.7 share points to account for 37.7% of TV usage, its largest share of total TV since August 2023. It’s also 3.4 share points above February 2023.

Sports has started to make a mark in the streaming category when high-profile events are shown. After gaining in January as a result of its exclusive NFL Wildcard game, Peacock usage dropped 19%, while Paramount+ gained 24% in February as a result of its simultaneous carriage of the Super Bowl alongside CBS. Both platforms have also benefited from the appeal of new original programming, namely "Ted and the Traitors" on Peacock (1.3 billion minutes combined) and "Halo" on Paramount+, accounting for 1.2 billion viewing minutes.

Finally, February was also a big month for FAST services, as Pluto TV, Tubi and the Roku Channel experienced gains of 10%, 8.3% and 8.1%, respectively. YouTube also posted a platform-best share in February, capturing 9.3% of total TV usage.