Flat As A Pancake: TV Home Growth In 2019-2020


Is broadcast television, and cable, a no-growth industry?

The latest National Television Household Universe Estimates from Nielsen suggest that may be the case, putting added pressure on an industry increasingly reliant on retransmission consent revenue to overcome declining advertising revenue.

According to the latest estimates, there are 120.6 million TV homes in the U.S. for the 2019-20 TV season.

That’s not much different from the 2018-19 season.

The number of persons age 2 and older in U.S. TV Households is estimated to be 307.3 million. This represents a 0.6% increase from last year.

Increases in U.S. Hispanic, Black and Asian TV households were seen, however, due to anticipated increases in population growth.

Nielsen uses U.S. Census Bureau, combined with information from its national TV panel, to arrive at Advance TV Universe Estimates in early May. It then distributes final Universe Estimates before the start of each TV season.

The 2020 National Universe Estimates reflect changes in population since last year and updated TV penetration levels, differentially calculated for qualifying market break and age/sex demographic categories.

The percentage of total U.S. homes with televisions receiving traditional TV signals via over-the-air antenna, cable, DBS, Telco, or via a broadband Internet connection connected to a TV set is currently at 96.1%.

That’s statistically flat from 2018-19, rising by a mere 0.2 percentage points.

Nielsen applies TV penetrations to convert the total household and population estimates to TV households and persons therein. The 2020 TV penetration for U.S. households was estimated based on data collected during the recruitment of homes for Nielsen’s People Meter panel.

Nielsen’s national definition of a TV household states that homes must have at least one operable TV/monitor with the ability to deliver video via traditional means of antenna, cable set-top-box or satellite receiver and/or with a broadband connection.