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American TV users have racked up a huge amount of time watching Netflix originals in the fall — no surprise, as shows like Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and Wednesday have scored big returns.
Right on the heels of the streamer, though, is the broadest of broadcasters, CBS. The network, which boasts seven of the top 10 non-sports shows on broadcast TV, plus the NFL and a strong college football slate, has drawn almost as much watch time with its programming as Netflix has with its original series.
Nielsen figures for the first nine weeks of the 2022-23 season show that Netflix and CBS are well ahead of other broadcasters and streaming services in terms of time spent with original programming. Netflix amassed 221.47 billion minutes of viewing, with CBS (which, it’s worth noting, commissioned the comparison) right behind with 215.64 billion minutes.
The other big four broadcasters also topped 100 billion minutes of viewing time, with NBC at 154.14 billion, ABC at 130.41 billion and Fox at 119.35 billion. The broadcast figures include live sports, news and daytime and late-night shows but not local or syndicated programming on network affiliates.
Other streamers in the snapshot are far behind Netflix — which has by far the largest roster of original series — and the broadcast networks: Disney+ captured 21.8 billion minutes of viewing time, Amazon’s Prime Video 18.44 billion, Hulu 16.3 billion and HBO Max just 4.69 billion. Those four only add up to a little more than half of Fox’s total.
Comparing network programming to streaming originals is probably the closest to an apples-to-apples comparison as is possible across platforms, but obviously it’s not a full picture.
Streaming services also have huge catalogs of acquired series (many of which originated on the broadcast nets) that aren’t factored in the figures above: HBO Max users watched several billion minutes’ worth of House of the Dragon in the fall, for instance, but since the show originates on HBO, it’s not included in the total. Similarly, while CBS viewers have watched about 4.9 billion minutes of the current season of NCIS on the network, Netflix viewers have watched more than 5 billion minutes of the show’s library over the past nine weeks. Through the first six weeks of the season (as much as was available at publication time), the top 10 acquired series in Nielsen’s streaming rankings totaled 38.4 billion minutes of viewing time.
That said, CBS’ top 20 primetime programs, led by the 5 billion minutes for FBI, have pulled in more viewing time (65.6 billion minutes) than Netflix’s top 20 originals (54.9 billion) over the past nine weeks.
Just on the nine outlets above, TV users in the United States have watched more than 900 billion minutes of original programming so far this season — a figure that doesn’t include other streaming services, several broadcast nets (including The CW, Univision, Telemundo and PBS) and more than 100 cable channels. It’s a further illustration of just how vast the TV universe has become.
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