There will be more TV content than ever before as the 2017-18 season begins next year, and, according to Nielsen, more U.S. households than ever before to watch it.
Nielsen announced today that has updated its national television household universe estimates for the new season, which kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 21. The company estimates there will be 119.6 million TV homes in the U.S. for the upcoming season. which is a 1.2 million increase from last season.
The company also estimates that 304.5 million people in those U.S. TV households are at least 2 years old, which is a 0.9 percent jump over last year’s 301.7 million figure.
To arrive at its national television household estimates, Nielsen combines U.S. Census Bureau data with its own national TV panel of 40,000 households, which represents a total of 100,000 viewers.
Additionally, Nielsen found that 96.5 percent of U.S. homes are TV households, which Nielsen defines having televisions that receive traditional TV signals via broadcast, cable, satellite or a broadband internet connection. The number is up from last year’s estimate of 96 percent.
Nielsen accounts for cord-cutters who may no longer subscribe to cable but still use their TV or monitor to access subscription services like Netflix, HBO Now or Hulu, or a livestreaming bundle from companies like DirecTV Now or YouTube TV.
Nielsen’s new household estimates validate the recent proclamations from all the broadcast networks at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour: while linear ratings are declining, their viewership is stronger than ever, given that many of the shows double their audiences in delayed viewing. “I don’t think the broadcast narrative should be linear versus digital anymore, but rather linear plus digital,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt.
Of course, the networks were far fuzzier on specifics about monetizing these robust digital audiences, as the bulk of ad revenue continues to come from linear viewing. But at least there will be a larger potential audience than ever for TV content as the new season kicks off next month.