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Streaming surpasses cable and broadcast TV viewership

Yahoo Finance's Allie Canal and Josh Schafer discuss the ascendency of streaming and how streaming giants are battling over sports media rights.

Video Transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: Well, if you can dream it, you can stream it. And now, Nielsen data is showing for the first time that more July TV time was spent on streaming services over cable television. This, as a number of streaming providers moved to ink deals with major sports contracts.

Let's bring in our panel of experts this morning with Allie Canal of Yahoo Finance and Josh Schafer, also of Yahoo Finance. We got big Yahoo finance panel here this morning. Let's kick things off Allie, with the numbers that we got from Nielsen. I thought we had already made this massive pivot to streaming. What are the numbers telling us?

ALLIE CANAL: I think a lot of people thought the same, but this is still a pretty big deal, right? I mean, I feel like streaming versus cable sort of has been this David versus Goliath conversation. And now, we're seeing streaming surpass both cable and broadcast TV for the first time ever.

If we dig into those numbers, in July, streaming captured 34.8% of total viewership. Cable accounted for 34.4%, so just slightly edging out cable there with streaming. And then broadcast came in third at 21.6%.

Now, a lot of this has to do with content. We've seen Netflix come out with hit after hit, "Stranger Things," "Virgin River," "The Umbrella Academy." Those shows really helped Netflix see a significant amount of viewership for the month of July.

Also Hulu, the second season of "Only Murders in the Building," along with "The Bear," that brought in a total of three billion minutes of viewership. And then Amazon Prime saw a lot of success with its new "The Terminal List," which I actually just binged. I loved it. With Chris Pratt, I highly recommend.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Add to my list.

ALLIE CANAL: Along with "The Boys." That season has consistently done well. Now, I will say, in defense of cable, we are in the midst of a bit of a slowdown, right? A lot of those shows are on hiatus right now until the fall. We also saw the end of NHL, NBA, so sports kind of slowing down right now. But we have the NFL coming in the fall. And I think that's gonna be a big driver for cable.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Right. I was gonna say, you mentioned sports here. This is coming at the same time that we're having a number of large media contracts with the stream-- the big streamers, right? Yesterday, with the Big Ten with a number of networks. They're trying to, you know, channel over to streaming. And then just today, Paramount winning the rights to the Champions League. Obviously, soccer huge as well.

JOSH SCHAFER: Yeah, so you have the Champions League. $1.5 billion Paramount spent on that. And the interesting to point-- thing to point out there with Paramount and the Big Ten deal yesterday, we had a $7 billion deal yesterday with the Big Ten, right? With FOX, CBS, and NBC. The interesting thing there, guys, is how that's gonna kind of keep the broadcast and cable numbers afloat because they're streaming those Big Ten games-- or sorry, not streaming those Big Ten games, they're putting them on TV.

You know, they're trying to do a traditional NFL style model where you turn to FOX at noon, CBS at 3:30, and NBC at night. And they're kind of keeping sports fans in that traditional model. And I think that's where the leagues want to be.

The Big Ten made that choice on purpose. The commissioner, Kevin Warren, did that on purpose. And so I think they're kind of keeping the broadcast linear route afloat for now. We'll see, we know Apple and Amazon want to get involved in streaming, too, right? And go further in. So maybe if they start buying up all those rights, eventually, maybe that changes.

BRIAN CHEUNG: I mean, you do kind of wonder-- and I'm trying to put the pieces together on this, right? Because people who are deciding to go with one streaming network over another, right? Let's just say we're talking about the streaming offerings only and taking the broadcast side of things away, they want the full package, right?

And people in many cases want to consume both of what you're talking about, right? They want to watch some of these shows but they also want to catch some of these games. So who do you think are the major streamers that kind of can offer that full package right now?

JOSH SCHAFER: I think it depends-- I think it depends who gets NFL's Sunday ticket, right? So we've been watching that closely. That's gonna probably come out in the next month or two. Because the NFL's the biggest sport, it's probably Apple or Amazon. And then if Apple gets it, Apple already had a great movie last year in "CODA," that won movie of the year.

ALLIE CANAL: Best Picture.

JOSH SCHAFER: Best Picture.

BRIAN CHEUNG: And TV Shows, right? With "Severance."

JOSH SCHAFER: I think they would have the most premium content that would pull me as a consumer.

ALLIE CANAL: Yeah, and I would argue Amazon, too. I mean, we saw that deal that they have with the NFL for "Thursday Night Football."

JOSH SCHAFER: Right

ALLIE CANAL: They are spending $1 billion every year for the next 11 years with that deal.

BRIAN CHEUNG: That's a lot of money

ALLIE CANAL: A lot of money. They have the new "Lord of the Rings, The Rings of Power" series coming out early next month. They spent over $460 million in just the first season of that show.

And I just think a lot of these tech Giants, Apple included, they have a lot of money to spend. And it doesn't really matter if they fail sometimes, that's not really what their core business is about. They really just want to keep people in the ecosystem, keep the products and the brand as sticky as possible. So I think that's an advantage there.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Well, one other question I have, though, is just kind of whether or not it is a pro or a con for streaming on whether or not they actually want it on their TVs or want to watch it on their phone, right? Because I think when it comes to sports, there is a fair argument that there's only a limited amount of people that want to watch a hockey game--

JOSH SCHAFER: Right.

BRIAN CHEUNG: --or watch a football game on your phone. And it's probably the same case if you're watching one of these "Lord of the Rings" prequels where you want the full, immersive experience that wouldn't be so good on a, let's say, mobile platform.

JOSH SCHAFER: NFL+ is gonna have a good-- we'll have a good idea after the first year of that, I think, right? So that new streaming service that we've talked about, NFL+, it's only $4.99, it's pretty cheap. You have to watch that on a tablet or a phone. Do people use it? We'll know by the end of the season. And I'll be very curious to see what those numbers are.

ALLIE CANAL: Yeah, and I would argue that it's probably a net positive for these streaming services. Even with HBO Max, I've been talking to @data.-- I think it's formerly App Annie, they've been coming out with some interesting data about how HBO Max has seen a surge in subscribers due to things like the "House of the Dragon" show coming up. And people just want accessibility. They want it to be easy. They want--

BRIAN CHEUNG: Watch on the train.

ALLIE CANAL: --things on the go.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah.

ALLIE CANAL: Watch it on the train. And that's one of the reasons why I think streaming has surpassed cable in a lot of ways because it's really-- it provides a lot of access for consumers.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Well, you're still going have Martin Scorsese, I guess, roasting people for watching the movies on their phones or on their Apple Watches in some cases, too. But Yahoo Finance's Josh Schafer, as well as Allie Canal, thanks so much. Have a great weekend. Appreciate it.