Number of TV Homes Shrinks for Second Consecutive Year

Sep 26, 2012  •  Post A Comment

The number of U.S. television households has fallen for a second consecutive year, reflecting the emergence of online viewing, reports Bloomberg.

The estimated number of TV homes dropped by 500,000 to 114.2 million, according to Nielsen, with the change being reflected for ratings purposes starting this week with the launch of the 2012-13 TV season, the story notes.

Nielsen previously reduced the number of TV homes in May 2011 by 1%, marking the first decline since 1990, according to the article.

The ratings firm said it’s working with advertising and television clients to decide how to define a TV home and how to account for new devices such as tablet computers, the piece adds.


  1. Granted, maybe more and more people are watching shows on tablets, phones, etc. but there are also streaming devices that allow you to watch online viewing on your TV. That is exactly what devices like the Apple TV, Roku, PS3, Xbox360, etc. allow you do. So did the number of TV viewers actually drop or are people just changing the ways that they are watching TV?
    I actually stream Netflix and Hulu Plus to my TV via an Apple TV.

  2. In addition to your statement, Les, aren’t there at least 500,000 homes empty as a result of foreclosure?

  3. I stream Netflix on my TV from my Panasonic Blu-Ray player in my living room and my Boxee Box in my bedroom. I also watch conventional television on the same sets.

  4. Tim,
    That would only be relevant if those 500,000 families are now homeless. The most of them are renting another home or an apartment – maybe moved in with a friend or family member. Most of the statistics in TVWeek are about broadcast (Free) TV. I can’t imagine that many people stopped watching TV. They have gone to cable shows or online viewing. This is like the statistics of box offices: it shouldn’t be about how much money a movie made but how many people saw it. Same way with TV. I have a friend with more TV sets than residents of their abode. Statistics shouldn’t be about how many TV sets were tuned to a particular show, but how many actual people. Hard to decipher I’m sure, but I would guess Nielsen has that figured out

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