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Cable outlets saw their share of viewing rise in March for the first time in months, thanks to March Madness and the annual State of the Union address.

Cable captured 28.3 percent of all TV viewing in March, according to Nielsen‘s monthly Gauge report, up from 27.6 percent in February. That’s the first time since August 2023 — a span of seven months — that cable has seen its share of TV use increase. The State of the Union amassed 14.1 million viewers on cable channels (about 44 percent of the overall audience of 32.23 million), and the top six telecasts on cable for the March reporting period (which ran from Feb. 26-March 31) were related to the annual address.

Early rounds of the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments also helped push cable’s viewing share up; overall, cable sports viewing rose by 43 percent from February. Longer-term trends are not as rosy for cable, however, as in the past year, it’s declined from 31.1 percent of TV use to 28.3 percent.

Streaming remained the biggest platform for TV users, gathering 38.5 percent of viewing for March — up from 37.7 percent a month earlier and its biggest share of viewing since July. YouTube was once again the top individual streaming service with 9.7 percent of all TV use — the largest for any single streamer since Nielsen began its Gauge rankings in May 2021. Netflix (8.1 percent of TV use) and Hulu (3 percent) also grew month to month.

Broadcast networks saw their share of viewing fall from 23.3 percent in February to 22.5 percent in March, while other TV use (including gaming and physical media playback) also fell off a little, ending the month at 10.7 percent.

Nielsen’s Gauge rankings for March 2024 are below.

Platforms

Streaming: 38.5 percent of all TV use
Cable: 28.3 percent
Broadcast: 22.5 percent
Other: 10.7 percent

Streaming Services

YouTube: 9.7 percent of all TV use
Netflix: 8.1 percent
Hulu: 3 percent
Prime Video: 2.8 percent
Disney+: 1.7 percent
Tubi: 1.6 percent
Peacock: 1.3 percent
Roku Channel: 1.3 percent
Max: 1.3 percent
Paramount+: 1 percent
Pluto TV: 0.8 percent
All others: 5.7 percent



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