Nielsen says the number of U.S. TV households fell by 500,000, reflecting the popularity of online viewing and results of the 2010 census. The adjustment in U.S. TV households to 114.2 million took effect 8/27 and will apply to the television season starting this week, Nielsen in a statement.
“We have had no household formation over the past several years, and I believe there is a modest amount of cord-cutting happening in younger households and in lower-income households,” said Paul Sweeney, Bloomberg Industries’ director of North American research.
Nielsen said it’s working with TV and advertising clients on what should constitute a TV home and how to account for new products such as tablet computers. It has already begun incorporating online viewing into ratings. This is the second straight year it has reduced the number of homes with TVs. In May 2011, Nielsen adjusted the number to 114.7 million, a 1% drop and the first decline since 1990, reports Bloomberg.
In the past year, three of the four largest broadcast networks experienced drops in audiences ranging from 2% to more than 8%. NBC, bolstered by the Olympics and football, increased its viewership by 19%, according to Nielsen.
Nielsen said its estimates for the 2012-2013 season are the first to reflect demographic details from the 2010 census, including age, sex, ethnicity and ethnic households. For that reason, the reduction amounts to an adjustment rather than one-year population changes.
“To the extent that there is cord-cutting, over-the-top companies such as Hulu and Netflix are benefiting,” Sweeney said. “These households then fall out of Nielsen’s total household mix.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Let’s face it—you can watch so much television and movies online today that cord-cutting is almost irresistible to some. And the surprising thing is watching programs on Hulu, per se, now have almost the same amount of ad content as live TV programming—and the advertisers are the same: Auto, CPG, Cellular/Wireless, Restaurant, etc…Cord cutters really don’t mind seeing their favorite shows a couple days after they’ve aired. Paying for internet at home is almost inelastic today, cable/satellite isn’t anymore—especially with this economy.