Digital Nation: Nielsen Pegs DVRs At 17.2%, Dallas Is Most Digital Market

Nearly four months after it began reporting audience ratings in households with digital video recorders, Nielsen Media Research has issued its first official estimate for the size of the DVR universe in the U.S. television marketplace. The estimates, which were sent to clients Wednesday along with new universe estimates for other digital TV technologies including digital cable and DVDs, show that 17.2% of American TV households now have a DVR, a slightly higher number than some might have expected from the TV ratings researcher, which currently has DVR households in about 15.8% of its national TV ratings sample.

While the official national DVR universe estimates sets a new benchmark for the digitization of television, local estimates also released by Nielsen on Wednesday show that some U.S. TV markets have grown far more digital than others - especially the biggest media markets.

At 26.5%, Dallas-Fort Worth, Tex. has the highest penetration of DVRs of any U.S. TV market, The Texas market, which ranks as the 6th largest television market overall, nudged out Los Angeles, the nation's No. 2 TV market, which has a DVR penetration of 25.9%, followed by San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, the nation's No. 5 TV market, which has a DVR penetration of 23.5%, and Washington, DC., the nation's No. 8 TV marketing, which has a DVR penetration of 23.0%.



In fact, all of the top 10 TV markets, including No. 1 New York (DVR penetration of 18.3%), have much higher penetrations of DVRs than the rest of the country, and given their size likely skew the national average.

The least digital market, for example, is Marquette, which places 178 among Nielsen's market rankers, but has a DVR penetration of only 5.7%.

The findings undoubtedly reflect some socio-economic skews among U.S. TV markets, but the range of DVR penetration could have a significant bearing on the way media planners allocate spot TV advertising budgets to various markets.

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