For the first time in history, Americans spent more time streaming content than watching cable.

For the first time in history, Americans spent more time streaming content than watching cable.

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It’s official: Americans spent more time watching streaming media than cable for the first time in July as media and technology giants duke it out in the war for television viewers.

Streaming logged a record amount of television viewing last month, at 34.8% of time spent, compared with 34.4% for cable and 21.6% on traditional network television, according to Nielsen data.

The total time spent streaming on services such as Netflix, Google’s YouTube, and Warner Bros. Discovery ’s HBO Max shot up 22.6% from last year, while the amount of time people watched broadcast TV fell 9.8%, and cable-viewing time fell 8.9%.

Broadcast sports viewing posted the biggest decline, falling 41% from June and 43% year-over-year.  The shift happened even though total viewer time in general didn’t change all that much from June and from last year, Nielsen said.

Time spent streaming in July averaged 191 billion minutes a week, Nielsen said.

Netflix , Walt Disney-controlled Hulu, YouTube, and’s Prime Video each captured record-high shares in July, beating their records set in June. Netflix was the most-watched streaming service, with 8% of July’s streaming, boosted by nearly 18 billion viewing minutes of Stranger Things alone, Nielsen said.

Viewers also spent almost 11 billion minutes combined watching Virgin River and The Umbrella Academy, and another 5 billion minutes watching The Sea Beast and The Gray Man

On Hulu, viewers spent 3 billion minutes watching the new season of Only Murders in the Building and The Bear. Prime Video’s The Terminal List and The Boys together netted more than 8 billion viewing minutes, Nielsen said.

Children spending time on streaming platforms such as YouTube, as well as fewer major sporting events on cable in the summer, contributed to the imbalance. Major League Baseball and other sports events are increasingly migrating to Apple TV+, Comcast’s Peacock, and Prime Video, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Broadcast TV’s share of viewership shrank to 21.6% in July, down nearly 10% from a year earlier. There was a lack of new content and this summer didn’t have the boost from the Summer Olympics, which drew viewers last year.

Streaming’s edge in July underscores the challenge the industry faces in offering content that draws viewers in and keeps them returning for more. Subscriber defections are rising, according to Antenna data, and some households cycle through different streaming services, the Journal reported.

By Janet H. Cho