TV Viewing Drops Post-NFL; Tubi Tops 1% Share for First Time

Skyy Moore of the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII
Despite Super Bowl LVII, Nielsen reported a 65% drop in broadcast sports viewing in February. (Image credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With the end of the National Football League season, TV fell in February compared to January but streaming gained share, with Fox’s Tubi topping 1% for the first time, according to Nielsen.

Nielsen said time spent watching TV in February fell 5.1% from January. Viewing via streaming was down 1%, broadcast viewing dropped 9.2% and cable fell 5.7%

The drop in broadcast viewing in February was driven by a 65% drop in broadcast sports viewing, with only Super Bowl LVII appearing in terms of NFL games. Compared with a year ago, broadcast was down about 8%. 

Cable sports viewing was also down, with cable news viewing rising 2.4%. News accounts for 18.6% of cable viewing. Compared to a year ago, cable viewing was down 14.1%.

NIelsen February

(Image credit: NIelsen)

Tubi showed up in the monthly rankings from Nielsen for the first time, with a 1% share. That topped Paramount’s Pluto TV and was even with Peacock.

In February, Nielsen changed the way it credited viewing on virtual MVPDs like YouTube TV and Hulu Plus Live TV, as well as streaming apps from traditional distributors. That viewing is no longer credited to the streaming category, as those virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) and apps deliver mostly broadcast and cable programming.

“Removing vMVPD viewing from streaming ensures that it is not counted twice, therefore providing a more accurate representation of what audiences are watching,” Nielsen said. 

Streaming viewing was helped in February by the addition of movies such as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Disney Plus, Nielsen said. 

The most streamed show in February was New Amsterdam, which tallied 4.6 billion viewing minutes across Netflix and Peacock.

The Last of Us was the second most-viewed program, with 4.4 billion viewing minutes on HBO Max.

Viewing on YouTube was up 2.5%, while Netflix was down 6.7% despite the arrival of a new season of You, which accumulated 4.2 billion viewing hours. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.