Image credit: YouTube

In the streaming age there are many platforms out there to get our fix from, but who reigns as the number 1 most watched in America?

There can be only one. Well, actually there are loads of video streaming platforms. From TV and film services like Netflix and Amazon Prime to the live, creator-based platforms like Twitch. But which streaming platform is the leader?

YouTube is the top video streaming service in America, according to the latest results from Nielsen.

YouTube has now sat for 12 months consecutively at the top of Nielsen’s chart. Beating out major players like Netflix for the attention of viewers. YouTube made up 8.6% of the streaming watch time in January 2024. Netflix followed closely behind with 7.9% of the viewership, whilst Amazon Prime Video trailed behind in third with just 2.8% of the audiences.

The streaming category does not include “linear streaming” (the aggregation of vMVPD/MVPD apps)

Whilst everybody loves to sit down and watch a series on Netflix, YouTube’s free and accessible platform keeps it ahead of the game. YouTube announced that 1 billion hours of YouTube content is now watched on TVs every day, on average. That’s not even including the time spent watching YouTube on computer or mobile.

YouTube have made efforts to bridge the gap between website video content and TV time. They’ve made multiple efforts to make YouTube work better for a sit-down TV experience, from improved UI to a cable service and TV-like adverts.

YouTube CEO, Neal Mohan writes: “When I started at YouTube, people thought about content from major studios and content from creators as entirely different. But today, that stark divide is gone. Viewers want everything in one place, from a live sports game to the BBC to Khan Academy and NikkieTutorials. And they’re watching YouTube the way we used to sit down together for traditional TV shows – on the biggest screen in the home with friends and family.”

YouTube spoke to a creator who has seen their viewership on YouTube grow from TV audiences. They found that 70% of their views in 2023 came from connected TV. YouTube asked the creator, Kinigra Deon, how they felt YouTube was transforming to cater to TV audiences.

Kinigra said: “I think the perception of content creators is changing. Starting out on YouTube, low production three minute sketches couldn’t be compared to television. It was more about being viral than being a true creative. Let’s go to now. The YouTubers I see now have professional cameras, entire studios and they’re creating this fan base with high quality content. We’re different from Hollywood, because we have the quality and we also have a personal relationship with our audience.”

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