Local television news audiences outpace subscription streaming, reports TVB

By NewscastStudio

In an era marked by the growing prominence of streaming services and the digital transformation of media, recent data offers a counterintuitive revelation about the enduring power of local broadcast television.

According to an analysis conducted by TVB, the trade association representing America’s local broadcast television industry, local television news audiences in selected markets vastly outnumbered those tuning into popular subscription streaming platforms.

The study was inspired by industry reports indicating the rise of streaming viewership. TVB sought to compare local broadcast TV news audiences and streaming service viewership in five geographically diverse LPM (local people meter) markets. The streaming services analyzed included six major platforms: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV+, Disney+, and Max.

“In each market, local broadcast TV news had 8-12 times more adult 18+ viewers than the streaming platforms combined,” said Hadassa Gerber, chief research officer, TVB.

“Due to measurement reporting limitations, the streaming audiences included both ad-supported and ad-free subscribers. Ad-supported platforms are what marketers need to reach consumers, so it is important to note that if the ad-supported streaming audiences could be culled from the total streaming audience numbers, local broadcast TV news audiences would surpass subscription streaming by even greater than 8-12 times margins.”

It’s worth noting that the analysis was performed against the backdrop of industry numbers, such as the Nielsen Gauge report, which suggested that streaming had a higher portion of the viewership pie than linear platforms.

However, Gerber pointed out, these numbers include all streamers, including those unreachable by advertisers because they stream without ads.


TVB’s analysis compared one-day viewing of local broadcast news to streaming services. February 15, 2023, was randomly selected as the date for comparison, and the impressions cited are for adults 18+. Even though the analysis included 4,942 programs on the streaming services against 58-79 news programs in each local market, local news consistently drew in significantly larger audiences.

For instance, in New York, 59 local broadcast news programs drew in 6,610,000 adults 18+, while 4,942 programs on the streaming services reached just 718,000. Similarly, 79 local news programs in Los Angeles garnered 4,979,000 views compared to 663,000 views for the streaming services.

Despite the broad industry shift towards streaming platforms and digital content, TVB’s research highlights the enduring relevance of local news.