For only the second time since Nielsen has been reporting data illustrating the effect of TV channel fragmentation, the percentage of TV channels tuned actually rose last year.
The data, which Research Intelligencer analyzed via a special request from Nielsen, shows the percentage of TV channels tuned by the average TV household rose to 6.8% in 2019 from 6.6% in 2018, reversing a downward direction that has occurred every year except for 2008.
Nielsen analysts did not explain the reason for the upward correction, but Research Intelligencer's analysis indicates it was due to a precipitous drop in the number of channels available to the average TV household last year, not from a rise in the average number of channels viewed.
Detailed data analysis is available to subscribers of Research Intelligencer, but the top line is that the average number of channels received by U.S. TV households fell precipitously to 179.5 in 2019 from 191.8 in 2018.
While the average number of channels received has been declining since it peaked in 2005, 2019's 6.5% decline was a pronounced drop.
It could reflect that American households are cutting back on their subscription TV channel packages, especially as more of them move to premium and ad-supported OTT subscription services, but whatever the case, it is notable and something to keep an eye on.
Interesting, Joe. If we assume that the average home can receive 180 channels and these are "linear TV" channels and each channel operates 24/7---not a given--then the average TV home can watch 4320 different shows per day as the average length of a TV show is about an hour. This doesn't square too well with Nielsen's claim in another report that over 300,000 different programs are available per viewer via "linear TV" sources.
Regarding the decline in "linear TV" channels used, assuming that these are weekly reach figures, of course cord cutting is a factor but the rise of competitive program sources---streaming, YouTube, etc----is the main reason why it's taking people longer to get around to sampling more TV channels. For example, if the average number or "linear TV" channels tuned in per week is now 12 this figure is not set in stone. Over the course of weeks and months additional channels will be tuned to, raising the eventual sampling figure considerably. Still it's an interesting analysis and thanks for providing it.
Don't think the assumption that this is for linear or traditional channels is correct.
I don't think coverage matters. A show on a regional sports network counts as much as one on a national network. Local shows count as much as national.
But Jack, the numbers are supposed to represent the national average. If a regional sports network can be seen by only 20% of the country it makes no sense to say that everybody in the country has access to its programs. If that's what Nielsen has done---and it may be---the analysis has little meaning.
Ed you're analysis does have little meaning