Streaming Will Surpass Linear TV in 2023, Research Company Predicts

The Drudge Report
(Image credit: The Drudge Report)

U.S. consumers will watch more video on digital sources like Netflix, YouTube and TikTok than on linear TV for the first time in 2023, Insider Intelligence predicts

In 2022, the research company said, consumption by U.S. adults of digital video platforms "nearly caught up to TV time," with consumers spending an average of 3 hours and 2 minutes per day watching digital video and 3 hours and 7 minutes watching linear TV.

In a "milestone" year, the research company predicts that U.S. adults’ daily TV time will drop to 2 hours and 55 minutes, while digital video time will climb to 3 hours and 11 minutes. Linear TV's share of viewing time will decline below 50% while digital video consumption share will reach 52.3%. 

Yes, it's indeed a milestone -- enough so that The Drudge Report gave Insider Intelligence's declaration a banner headline (albeit spared it that ridiculous animated gif siren).

“The growth of digital video is especially impressive when you consider that, as recently as four years ago, it accounted for roughly half of TV time," said Paul Verna, principal analyst and head of the digital advertising and media desk at Insider Intelligence. 

"And bear in mind that our time spent forecasts are for adults only. Given teens’ preferences for social and streaming video over TV, we can expect these trends to continue to shift in favor of digital," Verna added. 

Last summer, Nielsen made headlines when it revealed that consumption on streaming platforms in the U.S. surpassed usage of cable TV in July. But the overall heft of cable TV and broadcast still commanded the lions share of overall viewing in Nielsen's pig graph.

Notably, Insider Intelligence is factoring in usage of social video platforms like TikTok, which it believes will be increasingly influential going forward. In fact, the company predicts social video consumption will increase by 9.3% to an average of 45.2 minutes a day this year, with TikTok being the primary driver. 

“TikTok versus Netflix will be a major trend to watch this year,” said Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. “The lines between social and entertainment have blurred, and TikTok is now coming for the bigger-screen video players. New TikTok users add incremental new time spent, while its efforts in longer-form video, livestreaming and, more recently, music streaming, keep users on the platform longer. Growth in time spent on Netflix, meanwhile, is stagnant.”

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!