The question of which ad-supported streaming service is the biggest has been somewhat hotly debated.
According to Nielsen, it's Paramount's Pluto TV, which accounted for enough TV viewing time in the U.S. in September as to actually be measured by name in the research company's monthly marketshare tracker "The Gauge."
"Pluto TV is the first FAST service to cross the 1% share threshold and break out of the 'other streaming' category," Nielsen said in a note Thursday.
We here at Next TV have been suspicious of Nielsen's steaming measurements. It's weekly streaming rankings use data from its SVOD Content Ratings panel of 41,000 homes, gaining a "glass-only" sample that doesn't include viewership on phones, tablets and computers.
But Pluto TV leads the free ad-supported TV business in reported monthly active users -- 70 million as of August -- usurping Fox's Tubi (51 million as of last count) and Peacock (28 million). Amazon doesn't report specific MAU data for Freevee, but it's doubtful that the service is close to the more mature Pluto TV in usage.
With Roku touting 63.1 million active users across its platform as of end of Q2, it's likely that Roku Channel comes close in heft. (Our question: Does Nielsen even have a contract that enables it to include Roku Channel in its rankers?)
So Pluto TV and its collection of CBS programming, news and '80s rewind programming certainly leads the FAST segment in reach ... and according to Nielsen, consumption, too. ■
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!
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