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Is it taking longer to choose something to stream? Here's the data.

This year's Nielsen State of Play report showcases some interesting numbers on how long it takes for audiences to choose something to stream.

Photo of a hand holding up a remote at a blurry tv
Image credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters (Unsplash)

How long does it take to choose what to watch on streaming? It may be longer than you think, and that time can be a problem for streamers.

Nielsen has long been the big name in television numbers (and they did radio numbers too!), and in their State of Play report this year, one particular piece of survey data caught our eye. According to Nielsen's US streaming content consumer survey, it takes, on average, 10-and-a-half minutes for a viewer to decide on what to watch.

Now that 10:30 number is a bit of a drop from last year's 11:16 number, though 2022's number was a lot larger than 2019's mere 7 minutes and 24 seconds.

So yes, if it feels like you've been scrolling more and watching less on your streaming service, you're not alone. It's taking everyone longer.

What do these numbers mean for the streaming services? Well, it's not great. This lengthy selection period means that consumers are not being connected with the media they want in a timely fashion, and are more likely to just turn off the TV and do something else (sound familiar?).

While it feels like streaming has taken over at-home entertainment, it may be that its often purported triumph over the statement "There's nothing to watch on TV" was too early a victory to call.

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Tiffany Babb

Tiffany Babb: Tiffany Babb is a professional lurker (aka critic) who once served as Popverse’s deputy editor and resident Sondheim enthusiast.


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