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Nielsen’s State of Play Report Delivers New Insights as Streaming’s Next Evolution Brings Content Discovery Challenges for Viewers

3 minute read | August 2023

Better personalization and user experience open new opportunities for streamers amid overabundant program and platform choice, shifting content distribution strategies

New York – August 28, 2023 – Nielsen, a global leader in audience measurement, data, and analytics, today released its 2023 State of Play report outlining new findings on the fast-evolving streaming video landscape highlighting data and insights from Gracenote, Nielsen’s content solutions business unit. The new report illuminates the surging number of program titles and streaming video services, as well as the resulting challenges for viewers who now spend 10.5 minutes per session deciding what to watch. 

Content creators, distributors, streaming services and aggregators will benefit from a clear picture of the current streaming landscape presented in the report and actionable recommendations on how to differentiate their offerings under the existing market conditions. 

According to Gracenote data analysis, there were 1.9 million video titles available to viewers in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Mexico and Germany in July 2021. This number had swelled to 2.7 million titles by June 2023. Of the total count, a whopping 86.7% were available on streaming services. Compounding complexity, many popular shows appear in multiple streaming catalogs, highlighting an industry pivot away from content exclusivity to broader distribution in search of better monetization. 

The Gracenote analysis also found that audiences now have nearly 40,000 individual FAST channels, streaming providers and aggregators to choose from. Adding more context, new Nielsen data from The Gauge revealed that streaming accounted for 38.7% of total TV usage in July, a new record high. Concurrently, traditional TV viewing across broadcast and cable dropped below 50% for the first time.

But the wealth of available content and the proliferation of streaming choices has led to difficulties for viewers. When consumers could not find something compelling to watch, the report notes that one in five abandoned the viewing session and turned to another activity.  

As all industry players seek to position themselves for success in the evolving streaming marketplace, the keys to audience engagement are increased personalization and better user experience. Those that leverage content metadata and connected IDs to present the most compelling programming and relevant advertising to the right viewers through merchandising, curation and data science can gain a competitive edge.

“As it was during the age of broadcast television, content is the lifeblood of the digital, streaming-first media ecosystem,” said Filiz Bahmanpour, VP of Product at Gracenote. “So a clear understanding of content – where it’s available, what it’s about and whom it’s attracting – is more critical than ever.”

Gracenote is the content solutions business unit of Nielsen providing entertainment metadata, content IDs and related offerings to the world’s leading creators, distributors and platforms. Gracenote technology enables advanced content navigation and discovery capabilities helping individuals to easily connect to the TV shows, movies, music and sports they love while delivering powerful content analytics making complex business decisions simpler.

Download Nielsen’s 2023 State of Play report here.