The universe of U.S. television homes is growing—and so is the TV audience. According to Nielsen’s 2014 Advance National TV Household Universe Estimate (UE), there are 115.6 million TV homes in the U.S., up 1.2% from the 2012-2013 estimate of 114.2 million. Nielsen estimates that 294 million persons age 2 and older live in these TV homes, an increase of 1.6% from last year.
Nielsen uses U.S. Census Bureau data and auxiliary sources such as state governments and the U.S. postal service to arrive at Advance TV UEs in early May before the television industry’s upfronts. It then distributes final UEs before the start of each TV season.
The 2014 National UEs reflect 1) real changes in population since last year; 2) updated TV penetration levels, differentially calculated for qualifying market break and age/sex demographic categories; and 3) the expansion of Nielsen’s current definition of a TV home to include homes that receive TV via broadband connection only.
“This year, the Advance National TV UEs are as we expected,” said Pat McDonough, SVP Insights and Analysis, Nielsen. “Though we see slight shifts reflecting trends in population changes, the Advance UEs are largely stable and television viewing remains very strong. The expansion of the definition of a TV household, which we announced in February 2013, will include viewing from additional sites in current homes and new homes for the September TV season. In collaboration with clients, we continue to expand the reach of television audience measurement—how and where consumers choose to view content."
Nielsen applies TV penetrations to convert the total household and population estimates to TV households and persons therein. The 2014 TV penetration for U.S. households was estimated based on data collected during the recruitment of homes for Nielsen’s People Meter panel. Nielsen’s new definition of a TV household states that homes must have at least one operable TV/monitor with the ability to deliver video via traditional means of antennae, cable set-top-box or satellite receiver and/or with a broadband connection.