Audience Insights: A Heaping Helping of Helpful Headlines

11.21.2023 David Gustafson5 min

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to pause and reflect. For better or worse, many of my recurring reflections around this time of year are tied to the TV set.  There is, of course, the legendary reporting of WKRP’s Les Nessman during the infamous “turkey drop” incident of 1978. More recently, in 2015, SNL guest stars Adele and Matthew McConaughey teamed up to showcase the power of music in bringing harmony to the Thanksgiving dinner table.

As all of us here at the Audience Insights desk give thanks for the continued opportunity to contribute to the cornucopia of insights here on the Cox Media Learning Hub, we now serve up a heaping helping of numbers-based headlines that we hope will give marketers a nugget or two to reflect on as we head toward the holiday season:

The number of unique programs available to TV viewers has increased more than 68% in three years.

According to analysis from Nielsen and Gracenote, the number of individual programming options for TV viewers across traditional TV and Streaming platforms has risen to 2.7 million globally.  Compared to 2020, that means viewers have more than 1.1 million additional options to navigate when looking for something to watch. (Source: Nielsen/Gracenote. “State of Play 2023.” June 2023 vs. Feb. 2020.)

All that choice means viewers are spending more time searching for something to watch.

Nielsen survey results show that the average viewer now spends 10-and-a-half minutes sifting through different services and platforms searching for the right program to watch. That represents an increase of more than three minutes, compared to pre-pandemic levels. (Source: Nielsen/Gracenote. “State of Play 2023.” June 2023 vs. March 2019.)

With more choice and longer search times, use of Streaming services continues to rise.

Comscore reports that the average Connected TV household now watches an average of six Streaming services per month, up from four in 2019. (Source: Comscore. “State of Streaming 2023.” Averages for May of each year.)

Overall Streaming usage has tipped in favor of ad-supported services.

Comscore’s tracking estimates that 83.7 million U.S. Connected TV households used ad-supported Streaming services in May 2023, representing a 17% increase over 2021 – and surpassing the 81.1 million homes now using ad-free Streaming services. (Source: Comscore. “State of Streaming 2023.” Averages for May of each year.)

Amid the raging rapids of Streaming, Monday is still a fun day for ESPN.

As referenced in our October Audience Insights post, Monday Night Football has looked a bit different this NFL season, with ABC simulcasting the games in addition to ESPN’s regular coverage. Despite the competition, ESPN continues to deliver strong viewership. Through the first 10 weeks of the 2023 season, ESPN’s coverage of Monday Night Football has outperformed ABC head-to-head in two key audience segments – Men 25-54 and Adults 18-34. For the season to date, ESPN is delivering a Monday Night Football audience that is younger and more affluent than the ABC simulcast audience. (Source: Cox Media analysis of Nielsen Total U.S. Live+SD data; average viewers by demographic, median age, and median income for games airing 9/11/2023 through 11/13/2023.)

Television icon Johnny Carson observed that Thanksgiving can be an interesting holiday. “People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year,” Carson quipped, “and then discover once a year is way too much.”

From all of us on the Audience Insights team, we certainly hope you found this and our other articles intriguing enough to want to visit us over and over again throughout the year. We thank you for reading and wish you a wonderful start to the holiday season!

Questions?  Use the form to the right to connect with a Marketing Expert or contact your local Cox Media team today!

Headshot_David Gustafson
About the Author

David Gustafson

As Cox Media’s Director of Audience Research, David drives positive outcomes for marketers by applying a unique blend of data-informed analysis, industry expertise, and storytelling skills that have earned him a tenured role as the company’s “Professor.” Specializing in audience measurement and market intelligence, David is a member of the Ampersand Cross-MVPD Research Committee, Nielsen Local Policy Guidelines Committee (PGC) and VAB Measurement Innovation Task Force, as well as client advisor to Comscore.

View All of David Gustafson's Blog Posts

Connect with a Marketing Expert

Share Post On Social

Connect With Your Local Marketing Expert

You know your business. We know advertising. Together, we can bring your business to more people. Contact a member of our team today. We’d love to help you grow.