Nielsen Estimates That 119.9 Million U.S Homes Have TVs for the Upcoming Season

That’s 300,000 more than last year

Nielsen says 95.9% of U.S. homes are TV households. Getty Images
Headshot of Jason Lynch

TV ratings might be down, but according to Nielsen, more U.S. households than ever have access to television content.

Nielsen said today it has updated its national television household universe estimates for the new 2018-19 TV season, which starts on Monday, Sept. 24. The company estimates there will be 119.9 million TV homes in the U.S. for the upcoming season, which is a 0.3 million increase from last season.

The company also estimates that 305.4 million people in those U.S. TV households are at least 2 years old, which is a 0.3 percent jump over last year’s 304.5 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.

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

Additionally, Nielsen found that 95.9 percent of U.S. homes are TV households, which the company defines as having televisions that receive traditional TV signals via broadcast, cable, satellite or a broadband internet connection. The number is down from last year’s estimate of 96.5 percent.

All those TV households have plenty of options to choose from. Last month, FX said that 319 scripted programs had already aired so far in 2018, which is up 5 percent year over year.

And those numbers will continue to skyrocket “as long as the competition is red hot” and more companies like Disney enter the direct-to-consumer space, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said at the time.

Landgraf initially predicted that peak TV—a term he coined three years ago to describe the overwhelming amount of content available on broadcast, cable and streaming platforms—would have peaked by 2015 or 2016, but that was “wrong,” he said in August. “It’s a ways away.”


@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.
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