Multi-screen data analytics firm Samba TV this week released findings from a second-half 2022 U.S. video viewership report that showed a marked reduction in traditional linear TV.

The report indicated that for the first time in the study’s history fewer than half of Americans are watching traditional multi-channel TV distribution services, like cable and satellite TV.

The data was culled from approximately 47 billion hours of linear and streaming views in the country during the period, and indicates that cord-cutting is “now the norm,” the media analytics firm revealed.

Samba TV said this new “streaming-first world has given rise to new trends like subscription cycling, while making content discoverability a new challenge for streaming platforms.”

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“We have reached a critical turning point in television and viewing consumption… Meanwhile, streaming has become ubiquitous among every age group and ad-supported streaming has gone fully mainstream with significant expansion across new platforms including industry leaders like Netflix and Disney+ entering the world of ads,” stated Samba TV CEO and co-founder Ashwin Navin.

Samba TV’s latest State of Viewership Report provides a comprehensive overview of linear (broadcast) television, movie, and Connected TV (CTV) viewership. Among other data points uncovered in the research is the following:

  • Reach and hours of linear television watched hit a seven-quarter low in the third quarter of 2022 as the majority of US households no longer have a monthly cable subscription.
  • The behavioral shift away from linear TV viewing under scores the steep challenges advertisers face in reaching viewers via traditional platforms, as viewers continue cutting the cord and shifting their attention to streaming platforms.
  • Fewer than half of U.S. adults (48%) say they now have a monthly cable or satellite TV subscription and fewer than half of U.S. households said they watched linear TV daily in th last six months of 2022. In fact, the average number of hours of linear TV viewed in Q3 hit its lowest point in the past seven quarters.
  • Traditional TV advertising impressions reach only half of American households.
  • Average and high TV viewers are being subjected to the same ads over and over again, driving ad fatigue among those those seeing them.
  • Cord-cutters are changing the way audiences are engaging with streaming platforms making it harder to reach consumers.
  • Most cord-cutting households say they are unwilling to replace their $100 cable bills with the same spending levels on streaming subscriptions.
  • Most U.S. adults subscribe to two or fewer streaming services. As a result:
  • So-called subscription cycling is a growing trend, where viewers sign up for a streaming service to watch one program and quickly cancel the subscription when they are finished watching it. They frequently then move on to an interesting program or movie on a different service app.
  • Nearly 30% of U.S. consumers say they have subscription cycled in the last six months and 69% plan to cycle in the next six months.
  • More than half of subscription cyclers say they did so because they were only interested in one program per platform making it difficult for streamers to promote further content discoverability.
  • Sports continue to be the most powerful drawing card for traditional linear television services, with women’s sports demonstrating a new area for explosive growth in 2022.
  • Among Americans, football was the most popular sport during the second half of 2022, with the NFL dominating all 25 of the most-watched linear programs, Samba TV said. However, as the rights to NFL content are gradually being taken over by major streaming platforms, traditional linear TV services are increasingly at risk of losing this chip.
  • Samba TV suggested a new emerging opportunity for linear TV comes from women’s sports, which has demonstrated triple-digit year-over-year growth. The category is drawing younger and more affluent audiences from across cultures around the country.

“With over two-thirds of adults planning to cycle out of their subscriptions in the next six months, streamers will need to really shift from a pure acquisition mindset to one that places retention at the forefront,” Navin said. Streaming platforms must look to drive deeper engagement with their full portfolio of content in order to retain their audiences beyond one tentpole program.”

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By Greg Tarr

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