Recently, some interesting research findings were released by Nielsen as part of its latest round of Total Audience Reporting. The analysis shows that even as the number of stations received by U.S. TV households has increased to an average of ~192 in 2018 — up nearly 50% from a decade earlier — the number of channels actually watched, on average, has dropped to fewer than 7% of them.
Furthermore, stations watched has declined in absolute terms, not merely in terms of percentage share. The average number of stations tuned into by households as of 2018 (~13) was fewer than the number of TV channels households were tuning in to a decade earlier, when the average number was just over 17.
These findings underscore the continuing fragmentation of the linear TV ecosystem even as the number of alternative viewing choices increases, thanks to non-linear TV options such as OTT (Internet-direct) and VOD (video-on-demand) subscription services.
And here’s another takeaway from the research: These data underscore how dispensable most linear TV channels — not excluding ones affiliated with legacy networks — have become for most TV households.
What are your habits regarding watching linear TV these days? Do your practices mirror the Nielsen findings? How have your habits changed over the past few years? Please share your experiences with other readers.