Nielsen estimates US TV homes for '17-'18 season at 119.6 mn

NEW DELHI: Nielsen’s latest national TV household universe estimates for the United States says there are 119.6 million TV homes for the 2017-18 TV season. In contrast the total number of Indian television homes estimated by Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC India) earlier this year stood at a shade over 183 million.

Additionally, the percentage of total US homes with televisions receiving traditional TV signals via broadcast, cable, DBS or telco, or via a broadband Internet connection connected to a TV set is currently at 96.5 per cent, an increase of 0.5 percentage points from last year’s estimate, according to data released by Nielsen last week of August 2017.

Nielsen uses US Census Bureau, combined with information from the 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.

But to put things in perspective, would say that the population of the US in 2017, as per figures available, stood at 326,474,013, which is about 4.34 per cent of the world population. In contrast, as per United Nations data, the population of India is approximately 1.3 billion.

The number of persons aged two and older in the American TV households is estimated to be 304.5 million, which represents a 0.9 per cent increase from last year. Increases in US Hispanic, black and Asian households were also seen, due to estimated increases in population growth and TV penetration, Nielsen said.

So, what is the annual American TV season that Nielsen is referring to? According to Wikipedia, it means the 2017-18 network television schedules for the five major English-language commercial broadcast networks in the United States that covers prime time hours from September 2017 to August 2018. The schedule is followed by a list per network of returning series, new series, and series canceled after the 2016–17 season. The commercial networks include NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS and The CW, while PBS or public broadcasting service is excluded from these calculations. The CW data is not included on the weekends since it does not carry network programming.


The 2018 national American universe estimates by Nielsen reflect real changes in population since last year and updated TV penetration levels, differentially calculated for qualifying market break and age/sex demographic categories.

Nielsen applies TV penetrations to convert the total household and population estimates to TV households and persons therein. The 2018 TV penetration for US 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 homes must have at least one operable TV/monitor with the ability to deliver video via traditional means of antennae, cable set-top-box or satellite receiver and/or with a broadband connection.

Again, in the Indian context, as per data collated by in the public domain, while total TV homes stand at 183 million, total television viewership stood at 28.9 billion impressions in Week 34 of BARC India ratings. The previous 13-week average viewership was approximately 27 billion, showing a rise of seven per cent.


Total TV universe up to 183 mn, rate of rural growth higher than urban: BARC survey

Industry needs to understand on-ground changes in distribution, not question flux in data, says Partho Dasgupta

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