Looks like Netflix and other streaming services are starting to have an impact on traditional TV viewing: Total live TV ratings were down 12.7 percent year over year across the networks of major media companies, according to a note from Nomura Research, which is based on recent numbers from Nielsen. Nomura analyst Anthony DiClemente wrote that this was “one of the worst declines we have seen since we launched coverage of these companies.”
So why is live TV struggling? DiClemente pointed the finger at streaming services as the reason for the decline: “Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu, continue to siphon viewers away from linear TV,” he concluded.
There are some differences between individual networks, which in turn weigh on media companies’ bottom lines. January was a particularly bad month for Viacom, which saw ratings decline by 23 percent when compared to January 2014, with declines largely driven by MTV and Nickelodeon. Disney on the other hand only faced ratings declines of 7.5 percent, thanks in part to great ratings for ESPN.
Numbers like these run counter to the notion that online video viewing is additive to traditional TV consumption. That may have been true when people only streamed 15 minutes a day, but recent numbers from Netflix show that its subscribers watch an average of 90 minutes of Netflix programming every day.