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Nielsen: Multicultural Viewers Lead Increase in Streaming Service Subscriptions

A boy watches content on a tablet
(Image credit: JGI/Tom Grill via Getty Images)

As more consumers work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, multicultural viewers are leading the trend toward an increase in streaming service subscriptions, according to a new Nielsen Total Audience Report for second quarter 2020.

According to Nielsen, 25% of all viewers have added at least one streaming service in the past three months, with 40% of Hispanic viewers adding at least one new streaming service to top all groups. Black viewers were second at 27% followed by white viewers at 25%. The recent debuts of HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi should continue to propel increases in streaming service subscriptions among all viewers throughout the rest of the year. 

Nielsen also reported that viewing from streaming services comprised one-fourth of all television minutes viewed during the quarter, up from 19% of TV usage in fourth quarter 2019.

“COVID-19 has catapulted streaming to become the present and future of content creation,” said Peter Katsingris, Nielsen senior VP of audience insights. “Today, it accounts for 25% of our collective time spent with the television among streaming capable homes.”

As streaming viewership increases, live TV viewing dropped to 3 hours and 43 minutes per day in the first quarter, down from 3:53 a year ago and 4:10 two years ago, according to Nielsen. Among multicultural groups, Black Americans watched 20 minutes less time per day of live and time shifted TV a day during the quarter, with Hispanics down nine minutes and Asian Americans down two minutes.

Black adults still spent nearly 50 hours a week viewing television during the first quarter 2020, dwarfing whites (37:50), Hispanics (28:27) and Asian Americans (22:38), according to the report.