Hulu Draws Most Daily Minutes Of Tune-In Among Top Streamers, Has Biggest Share Of Viewers 18-34, Per Nielsen

In a virtual presentation today during the Cannes Lions brand confab, Nielsen shed a bit more light on streaming from its growing body of research on the U.S. market.

Following up on its announcement last week of a new measurement tool called The Gauge, SVP of product strategy Brian Fuhrer explored the May viewing numbers during a 20-minute talk. Subscription video on demand services remain the dominant form of streaming, he said, with 52% of total streams. Ad-supported video on demand followed with 27% and MVPDs and virtual MVPDs (e.g., YouTube TV) account for 10% of all streaming.

Linear streaming, Fuhrer noted, remains a single-digit percentage of overall streaming, but it is growing steadily as viewers are “trained” to access it.

A snapshot of the new competitive landscape yielded some striking results in the month of May. Hulu had the most average viewing minutes per day of any major service, with 130. YouTube was next at 128 minutes, followed by Netflix at 110, Amazon Prime Video at 97 and Disney+ at 89. The high tally for Hulu is likely tied to its longtime position as a place for catch-up viewing. Many series stream on Hulu after their linear airings, making it a fixture among viewers who have come to rely on it more than a DVR.

In terms of the total number of viewers, Netflix retains a commanding lead, with more than double the number on average than Hulu.

About 33% of Hulu’s viewers were between the ages of 18 and 34, the highest percentage in that demo of any service. Streaming overall also remains tilted toward women, especially for Hulu, whose viewing was 57% female. Competition for male viewers, Fuhrer observed, could be the next streaming battleground, a notion supported by live sports investments like Amazon’s multi-billion-dollar bet on exclusive NFL rights.

Nielsen measures only Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+ and YouTube and only U.S. viewing on a TV screen. Given the global scope of so many services, the domestic picture tells just a sliver of the whole story, but it’s a useful glimpse given how close to the vest companies keep their viewership data.

In terms of age groups, 43% of Disney+-viewers were between the ages of 2 and 17, by far the biggest youth skew of any service. Disney CEO Bob Chapek has offered a different message during his public comments in recent months, saying the company has been surprised to see that half of subscribers thus far do not have children.

Netflix, due to its scale, is very evenly weighted among the four main age brackets, 2-17, 18-34, 35-54 and 55+, with percentages in the 20s for each.

Established players like Netflix can be compared with broadcast networks in terms of wide appeal and share of total streaming, Fuhrer said. “The newer streamers coming in are looking for their niche — who can they really resonate with?” he said.

In addition to the streamers tracked officially by Nielsen, the marketplace has seen a burst of new players in the past year, among them HBO Max, Discovery+ and NBCUniversal’s Peacock.

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