The Gauge: Roku Channel Becoming a Major Player in Streaming

According to Nielsen’s May 2023 report of “The Gauge,” streaming accounted for 36.4% of TV viewing time in the United States, surpassing cable content (31.1%) and broadcast content (22.8%). The report provides a comprehensive snapshot of total broadcast, cable, and streaming consumption on television screens.

The Gauge is a monthly overview provided by Nielsen that captures the complete picture of viewership across broadcast, cable, and streaming content on television screens. It relies on Nielsen’s National TV measurement service and Nielsen Streaming Platform Ratings, which offer valuable insights into audience measurement, including the duration of streaming and the specific platforms used by consumers.

It also highlights the rise of free ad-supported television (FAST) services, with the Roku Channel gaining significant traction and standing alongside industry giants like Peacock and HBO Max. Here are key findings from the report and explores the shifting landscape of TV consumption.

Streaming Usage Rebounds

After experiencing a 2.1% decline in April, streaming usage rebounded in May, capturing 36.4% of TV viewing. The report attributes this resurgence to a methodology change that better captures streaming usage. Approximately half of the 2.5% increase in monthly streaming usage reflects actual viewing behavior. Despite the overall gains in streaming, total TV usage fell by 4.4% compared to April.

Streaming Platforms

Both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video experienced usage gains in May. Netflix’s usage increased by 9.2%, with a significant portion attributed to the methodology change. The platform’s top three streaming titles for the month were “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story,” “A Man Called Otto,” and “The Mother.” Amazon Prime Video saw a 5.1% usage gain, driven by popular shows like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Citadel.” YouTube maintained its position as the leading streaming platform, capturing 8.5% of TV viewership.

The Emergence of Roku Channel

Notably, the Roku Channel has emerged as a prominent player among FAST services, capturing 1.1% of total TV usage in May. Alongside Pluto TV and Tubi TV, the Roku Channel is independently reported in “The Gauge.” Collectively, these three services rival the viewership of Peacock and HBO Max, and even surpass Amazon Prime Video in aggregate viewership.

The Gauge May 23

The Decline of Broadcast and Cable

Total TV viewing in May witnessed a 4.4% drop, primarily due to reduced broadcast (5.5% decline) and cable (5.4% decline) viewing. Sports viewing experienced a significant 25% decrease, impacting broadcast numbers. However, the Kentucky Derby outperformed popular shows like “NCIS,” “Young Sheldon,” “Blue Bloods,” “Ghosts,” and “FBI.”

On cable, the NBA Finals on ESPN and TNT contributed to a 12% increase in sports viewership, with the top four cable programs in May dedicated to the finals. Despite the attention garnered by the CNN Town Hall, news viewing fell by over 11% compared to April. Year-over-year, broadcast viewing was down by 5.6%, and cable viewing decreased by 13.7%.


Nielsen’s May 2023 report of “The Gauge” reveals the continuing rise of streaming, which now dominates TV viewing time in the United States. The emergence of FAST services like the Roku Channel highlights the growing popularity of ad-supported streaming options. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video experienced usage gains, while YouTube maintained its position as the leading streaming platform. Broadcast and cable viewing declined, with sports viewership significantly impacting the numbers. These findings underscore the evolving landscape of television consumption and the need for networks and platforms to adapt to changing viewer preferences.

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