More people watch YouTube than NBCUniversal or Paramount as the internet keeps crushing traditional TV



Television networks have a lot more to worry about than streaming services.

New data from ratings service Nielsen finds that Americans are now spending roughly 10% of their television viewing time watching YouTube, rather than traditional programming.

It’s part of an ongoing change in viewer habits that has contributed to weakness in the traditional television market. Network and cable revenues are slowing to the point that Disney, at one point, explored the option of selling off ABC and its other linear holdings.

YouTube is still thought of primarily as a repository for user-generated content, ranging from how-to videos to attention-grabbing stunts. But the Alphabet-owned video service has expanded its footprint to include full-length movies, live sporting events and its own form of entertainment featuring influencers like MrBeast, who has arguably become a bigger celebrity to younger generations than many actors performing on network programs.

Broadcast programming is still, on the whole, more popular than YouTube, taking up 22% of people’s monthly TV viewing. Cable channels account for 29%.

But YouTube’s numbers best all of the streaming services. Only Netflix is close, taking up 7.6% of people’s TV viewing, Nielsen reports. (Disney+ commands just 1.8% of the time and Max 1.2%.)

Disney, with its extensive broadcast and cable holdings, is the only single media company to hold a bigger share of the TV audience than YouTube. Even NBCUniversal and Paramount fall short of the service’s TV usage numbers. YouTube tops Fox’s aggregated viewers by nearly 50%.

It’s a big change from November of 2323, when NBCUniversal and Paramount topped YouTube. Things started to change in February of this year, with NBCU falling down the list, and Paramount following suit the next month.

The data showing the strength of YouTube comes as networks are in the midst of upfront presentations, when they roll out their upcoming programming slates to sponsors.

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