Television / Video

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In today’s media landscape, most consumers don’t differentiate between programming viewed on broadcast, cable, ADS-delivered, and online or mobile channels.  It’s all considered “TV viewing” and the positives, opportunities and challenges apply to “video” across the board:

  • TV set penetration in U.S. households is high, according to the Nielsen Company:
    • 96.5% of households have a TV
      • However, according to a 2017 survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there is an average of 2.3 TVs in the home.

    • Majority of American homes have wired cable or some alternate delivery system

      • 50.6% of households have a wired cable service as of November 2017
      • This is a large decline from just two years prior - 55.9% in November 2015 that
      • 29.8% of households now have some form of alternate delivery service (ADS) such as satellite, telecom

    (Source: Television Bureau of Advertising)

    • Americans spend a lot of their media time with TV/Video:
      • TV garners 43% of American’s total media time 
      • Adults spend an estimated 34 hours and 25 minutes per week watching “traditional” or “live” television
      • Time spent with video rises to nearly 60 hours per week when timeshifted TV and video across devices and platforms is included

    (Source: Nielsen, The Comparable Metrics Report, Q1 2017)

    • "Live" or "traditional" TV viewing takes place primarily within the home
      • 9% of adults’ TV exposure still takes place in their own home or someone else’s

    (Source: Media Dynamics, Inc. – Intermedia Dimensions 2017)

    • Internet and mobile platforms allow for TV everywhere, but adaption percentages are still low
    • Expanded digital viewing will be advantageous to advertisers, allowing exposure closer to point of purchase

    • The mass reach once afforded by advertising on broadcast TV networks has declined due to:
      • Access to multiple TV sets/screens within homes
        • TV used to be a group activity with everyone in the household gathered in front of the TV
        • Multiple sets/multiple screen options have transformed viewing into a more solitary, singular activity

    • Availability of more channels
      • Network TV once dominated with 3-6 channel options
      • Average home in 2017 typically selects from 203+ channels delivered via cable, satellite

    (Source: Media Dynamics, Inc. – The Media Book 2017)

    • Digital-only platforms such as Hulu, Netflix, etc. have drawn viewers from broadcast, cable, ADS
    • Video on Demand (VOD) options growing, gaining awareness among consumers

    • According to a 2017 survey, 53% of adults have a DVR while 54% have Netflix in their household

    (Source: Leichtman Research Group On-Demand Study, 2017)

    • Consumers no longer need to make an “appointment” to watch their favorite shows
      • Prime-time programs recorded for later viewing, binge-viewing
      • Time-shifting of programs challenges advertisers placing time-sensitive commercials
      • Consumers may delete or skip over commercials in recorded programming

    • Television commands more advertising dollars than any other medium, but low volume relative to time spent:
      • TV is expected to end 2017 at $71.65 Billion (Pivotal Research, September, 2017)
      • TV advertising expenditures represented 38.6% of total media spending in 2016 (vs 38% of media time)

    (Source: Statista, 2017)

    Key Links to additional information on Television:

    For data on cable penetration, ADS for specific DMAs:,Wired-CableBroadcastOnlyHouseholdPenetrationTrends.aspx

    For data on specific cable carriers within major markets: