Streaming Services & Broadcast Networks Have Greatest Reach in Viewniverse

Streaming Services & Broadcast Networks Have
Cheyne Gateley/VIP

One of the aims of VIP’s Viewniverse study was to demonstrate how each streaming service and TV network brand stacked up against the others on the same scale.

This was achieved by partnering with leading content analytics firm Wizer and asking viewership and affinity for 242 video brands among 1,857 U.S. video viewers age 18-64.

This resulted in data finding that, on an individual basis, streaming services are the most regularly watched, with YouTube and Netflix seeing reported regular viewership ahead of all other video services.

These are followed by the four major broadcast networks in the U.S. — Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC — making up a clear second “most watched” tier. Next there are streamers Prime Video and Hulu, with HBO close, and then mostly cable networks.

Despite streaming services taking the top positions, it’s worth pointing out that only five streamers make it into the list of top 25 regularly watched brands. The takeaway here is that, while some streaming brands are seeing great success, most are not, with traditional TV brands still playing an important role for many viewers.

Variance does exist between age groups. While Netflix and YouTube are among the top three video brands among 18-54, it is notable that broadcast networks increase with importance the older one gets.

While the single-brand streaming giants of Netflix and YouTube dominate the individual regularly watched services list, the story changes once the total scale of traditional media firms is considered. Once watching any of the streaming services, cable networks and broadcast TV channels that fall under the corporate umbrella is factored in, the streaming upstarts fall behind the “old media” giants of Disney, ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal and Fox.

Notable though is the fact that Google and Netflix remain larger in reach than some traditional media firms. Google’s reach via YouTube is greater than A&E Networks’ combined cable and SVOD brands, with Netflix level with A&E. Both streamers come in ahead of AMC Networks and ESPN by some distance.

This lead shouldn’t be taken for granted by old media. When looking at the overall brand reach among those age 18-24, Google and Netflix have a greater reach than the total portfolios for NBCU, Fox and Discovery. It’s a similar story for 25-34s, which see Fox and Discovery trailing YouTube and Netflix in terms of being regularly viewed by the demo.

For broadcast networks in particular, this should be a wake-up call. Unless serious steps are made to engage younger audiences, the traditional viewing giants risk being reduced to also-ran status among the younger demos who are aging-in to audience figures and marketers playbooks.

If things continue as is, it’s not hard to see a world where advertisers flock to YouTube’s source of greatest single reach in order to find younger viewers, with network TV increasingly the domain of Medicaid and AARP ads.