Report shows streaming may overtake traditional TV for the first time ever this year

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If you’ve found yourself watching streaming content rather than flipping channels on the TV, you’re not alone. According to the market research company Insider Intelligence, streaming material — whether it’s a drama on Netflix, sports on ESPN+ or cat videos on TikTok — will overtake traditional TV’s viewership for the first time ever in 2023.

Scheduled content on broadcast and cable television — or, as it’s known in industry circles, ‘linear TV’ — has been losing audience to on-demand digital content for years, but Insider Intelligence predicts this is the year linear TV loses its decades-long dominance.

American adults’ daily TV time is predicted to drop to two hours and 55 minutes, versus three hours and 11 minutes watching streaming entertainment, the analysts report. According to the company’s analysis, 2022 saw streaming neck-and-neck with TV time: Adults in this country spent an average of three hours and two minutes a day watching digital video content, versus three hours and seven minutes watching TV.

The company’s report further shows YouTube and Netflix are “neck and neck,” each grabbing an average of about 33 viewing minutes per day among U.S. adults. Hulu ranked second with 24 minutes, followed by Amazon Prime Video with 11 and Disney+, with eight. Streaming sports was a big driver in digital viewership, the report says.

Insider Intelligence’s principal analyst Paul Verna explains that as recently as four years ago, digital video’s audience was half of TV’s audience. Also, because the new analysis centers solely on adults and younger audiences spend even more time consuming digital content, the gap between linear and streaming will likely widen further.

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Aside from an uptick in 2020 — likely from watching TV news during the pandemic — TV time has dropped every year since 2013.

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