Nielsen Gauge September 2023 (CVR’s Version)

October 31, 2023

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CVR’s in-house media strategy, buying and data analytics team is always looking to keep the rest of the CVR team and our clients up to date on changing trends within the paid media space. Here are some recent industry observations and an example of how our team leveraged the knowledge to optimize a current campaign.

Nielsen’s The Gauge September 2023 report shows some interesting shifts in television consumption from August. Total linear television viewing (“linear” meaning scheduled programming running on traditional broadcast and cable channels) rose 4% from August 2023 to September 2023 with broadcast and cable sources accounting for almost 53% of television viewing. Viewing of linear broadcast and cable content through a streaming service such as YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, DirecTV Stream or Fubo is credited to broadcast and cable viewing. The return of NFL regular season games on Fox/CBS/NBC/ESPN/ABC (ABC via ESPN’s Monday Night Football simulcast) is the main reason for the linear rebound, though college football had some big rating moments in September as well, with the Colorado State/Colorado matchup drawing a record late-night college game audience of 9.3MM despite a 10pm ET kickoff and a 2:30am end time.

With the writers’ and actors’ strikes both ongoing in September, broadcast television lineups outside of sports content were dominated by reality and game shows. It’s possible the 4% linear increase from August could have been even higher if broadcast lineups featured the usual roster of first-run comedies and dramas. CBS’s move to re-air Yellowstone season one (originally on Paramount Network in 2018 and available via streaming on Peacock) in Sunday night prime paid off with 6.8MM people tuning in to the September 17 premiere episode with a total of 9.5MM viewers watching back-to back-episodes on September 24.

Streaming viewing declined 2% from August to September, accounting for 38% of television usage. YouTube led the streaming pack with 9% of viewing, almost identical to its August share. Netflix (7.8%) was down 5% month over month, Max (1.2%) and Peacock (1.1%) both dropped 8% from August, while Paramount (1.0%) and Pluto (0.8%) declined 9% and 11% respectively. Amazon was the one streamer to show a month-over-month increase (up 6% from August to 3.6% September share) thanks to Thursday Night Prime NFL games.

October and November trends should look a lot like September due to football and the ongoing actors’ strike limiting first-run scripted programming (though it’s possible networks carrying Kansas City Chiefs games could see increases due to the Swifties). The NFL week four New York Jets/Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night game averaged 27MM viewers across NBC/Peacock/NBC Sports Digital/NFL Digital platforms—this was up 22% over last year’s week four Sunday night game featuring the Chiefs vs the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Or maybe the extra 4.8MM people watching this year were there for Zach Wilson.

CVR recently activated NFL across traditional broadcast television along with streaming NFL OTT in five DMAs and saw our client’s organic search volume increase 32% along with a 23% lift in direct website traffic vs the previous period with no NFL-content purchased. This demonstrates the profound impact of a comprehensive video strategy on other media types running concurrently.

If you need help getting your arms around the ever-changing paid media landscape or to harness its power as a tool for your brand’s message, contact us. CVR’s media team is ready to help.