By Haddon Libby

It seems hard to believe but the average American consumes 33 hours of television each week.  According to Nielsen Research, the average adult consumes 10 hours of media each day with half on television.  Stated differently, we spend three-quarters of our life sleeping or consuming media whether that be the television, radio, gaming device, internet, music streamer or newspaper.

Last summer, streaming passed cable television as the most watched media type.  Streaming now has roughly a 40% market share with cable television at 39% and broadcast television at 21%.

The Leichtman Research Group found that three in four homes now use some streaming service, up from 52% in 2015.  Of households that stream, seven in ten use more than one service.


Variety reports that the biggest changes in viewing preferences have been amongst children.  Where the Disney Channel was a top-10 rated network in 2015, it is now 80th.  Viewership that averaged 2 million in 2014 fell to a paltry 132,000 average viewers for 2023.

Where did everyone go?  The Disney+ streaming service with 150 million subscribers globally and 46 million in the United States.

For comparison, the recent Super Bowl featuring the Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Franscisco 49’ers had 113 million viewers.  Seventy-seven percentage of all televisions were tuned to the big game making it the second most watch event ever in the United States.  The most watched event was the 2015 Super Bowl featuring a Tom Brady-led New England Patriots beating the Seattle Seahawks as 115 million watched.

The most-watched network of 2023 was NBC with 4.53 million average viewers followed by CBS with 4.51 million.  ABC is third with 3.9 million followed by Fox (3.3M), Fox News (1.9M), ESPN (1.7M), Univision (1.27M), MSNBC (1.2M), Ion (997,000) and HGTV (943,000).  Other well-known network ratings include CNN (591K), ESPN2 (323K), Comedy Central (233K), Disney Channel (132K), Golf (84K) and Showtime (69K).

The top-rated program on the streaming services in 2023 was a USA Network program that had been off the air since 2019.  Measured by numbers of minutes of viewing time streamed, USA Network’s “Suits” streamed 58 billion minutes.  The show originally aired from 2011 through 2019.

Children’s show “Bluey” came in second with 44 billion minutes.

Nielsen tried equating streaming viewership each week to traditional viewership numbers used to set advertising rates.  By this metric, “Suits” drew 3.9 billion minutes in a week.

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” was the highest rated move with 2.9 billion minutes in one week.  “Black Pather: Wakanda Forever” was second at 2.3 billion minutes on Disney+ with “Avatar” third at 1.9 billion.

The top-rated original streamed program was “Outer Banks” at 3.2 billion minutes followed by “The Night Agent” at 3.1 billion and “Ginny & Georgian” at 2.7 billion.

While cable and broadcast television have seen viewership diminish greatly over the last decade, six in ten people still use one or the other.  The top-rated series for 2023 was “NCIS” with an average audience of 10 million.  CBS held the top four spots as “FBI” came in second (9.4M) with “Young Sheldon” drawing 9.4 million viewers and “Blue Bloods” at 9.3 million.  NBC’s ”Chicago Fire” had 9.1 million with CBS’ “Ghosts” at 9 million.  Excluding sports, the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade” drew the highest rating of any program at 22.2 million with “The Oscars” second at 19.4 million, “Next Level Chef” at 16.9 million and “Grammy Awards” at 13.4 million.

Where “NCIS” is the highest rated show at 10 million, the NFL had thirteen games with ratings that were at least three times that of “NCIS”.

As Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Disney expand their streaming presence into live sports, it will become harder and harder for traditional outfits to compete for broadcast rights.

Haddon Libby is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Winslow Drake Investment Management.  For more information on our services, please visit