TV Ownership Drops Two Percent

The ownership of TV sets has dropped from 98.9 percent of U.S. households to 96.7 percent, a decrease of more than two percent, according to Nielsen. The last time TV ownership declined was in 1992 following a recession.

Nielsen attributes the decrease to drooping incomes and alternative media. The research company derived its figures from the 2010 Census as well as a national sample of 50,000 people.

Though flat-panel TVs have become more and more affordable, the poorest households can't afford them. Nielsen found that most households without TVs had incomes under $20,000. Some of them (the elderly, we're guessing) may have gotten left behind during the DTV transition, though set-top boxes that convert digital signals to analog are very cheap.

Another reason for declining TV ownership is an intergenerational shift toward internet video. College students often use laptops in lieu of TVs to view video content. As they graduate into the labor force, they continue viewing internet video and refrain from buying TVs. There is also a small but growing cadre of "cord cutters" who dump their cable or satellite service in favor of internet video.

This may be a good time for Apple and Lenovo to introduce their rumored computer-enhanced TV products.

The decline in TV ownership should not be construed as a decline in video-content viewing. Nielsen says "consumers are viewing more video content across all platforms."

See The New York Times.