Sports Fuel More Broadcast Gains in October

For the second straight month, broadcast networks increased their share of TV use — and for the second straight month, sports was the primary driver of those gains.

Nielsen’s monthly Gauge rankings for October show broadcast networks capturing 24.6 percent of TV use in the United States, up from 23 percent in September and the best mark for over-the-air networks since January. Broadcast viewing rose by 9 percent month to month, driven by sports as the NFL and college football seasons continued and Fox had some of baseball’s postseason, including the World Series, on its air.

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Sports accounted for 30 percent of all broadcast viewing for the month, up from 25 percent in 2022. Scripted dramas, which normally account for the largest share of broadcast viewing in the fall, fell off from 27 percent of all broadcast viewng in October 2022 to 18 percent this year, due to only a handful of scripted shows running on networks during the industry’s labor strikes.

Viewing of sports and news on cable were up over September, but overall cable lost a few tenths of a point in its share of viewing, slipping to 29.5 percent — the lowest mark since Nielsen began its monthly platform rankings in 2021.

Streaming also fell off, losing 0.9 share points to finish at 36.6 percent of use. More than half of that decline, however, was due to a change in Nielsen’s methodology to more accurately differentiate between viewing of Hulu’s SVOD service and its Hulu Live offering; viewing of broadcast or cable programming on the latter service is credited to those platforms rather than streaming. As a result of the change, Hulu’s SVOD service fell from 3.6 percent in September to 3.1 percent in October.

Nielsen’s Gauge rankings for October 2023 are below.


Streaming: 36.6 percent of TV use
Cable: 29.5 percent
Broadcast: 24.6 percent
Other: 9.3 percent

Streaming Services

YouTube: 9.1 percent
Netflix: 7.2 percent
Prime Video: 3.6 percent
Hulu: 3.1 percent
Disney+: 1.9 percent
Tubi: 1.3 percent
Max: 1.2 percent
Peacock: 1.1 percent
Roku Channel: 1.1 percent
Paramount+: 0.9 percent
Pluto TV: 0.8 percent

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