Nielsen: U.S. TV Homes See Slight Uptick

Nielsen data indicates that residents of New Orleans are gradually returning home, with the area gaining about 33,000 television homes over the last year.

The Crescent City DMA now has some 11% fewer TV households than its pre-Katrina level of 672,000, compared to being down 16% a year ago. Over the past year, TV homes in New Orleans have climbed 6% to some 600,000. In July, Nielsen again began measuring the DMA as a metered market. (New Orleans was the country's 43rd-largest market before the hurricane, now its 53rd.)

The data was released as Nielsen announced that the estimated number of U.S. TV homes come January would be up 1.3% over the past year to some 112.8 million. (The number of viewers will edge up 1% to 286 million.) The data goes into effect next week, and will be used to determine ratings for the new TV season.

Data also shows that growth in the number of Hispanic homes continued to significantly outpace the general population with a 4.4% increase. Similarly, the number of Asian-American TV homes was up 3.9%. Also, Austin, Texas and Boise, Idaho saw notable jumps in TV households, as did the Atlanta and Dallas markets. The Dallas market, the country's fifth-largest, is now larger than San Francisco. Atlanta, at number eight, has leapfrogged Washington.

Separately, the number of Americans between ages 55 and 64 increased by 3.9%, while those under 50 saw an increase of only .3% (18- to-49-year-olds were up by the same figure).

The number of Hispanic TV homes now stands at 12.1 million--11% of the Nielsen sample. Asian-American households are 4.5 million, while African-American homes increased in the last year by 1.5% to 13.7 million.

Within the DMA rankings, Sunbelt markets continued to grow. For the third year in a row, Phoenix moved up--it's now 12th. Also, Austin saw TV homes up 6%, and Boise jumped five spots to the 113th-largest market. Charlotte, N.C. cracked the top 25, while Palm Springs, Calif. is on the march--up four spots to 144th.

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