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The average number of television channels that each US home receives has reached a record high of 118.6, according to a Nielsen Company report that highlights population, television ownership and advertising trends in the United States.

Some 58% of homes receive 100+ channels; 26% receive 60-99 channels; on average, television households in the US receive 17 broadcast TV stations, Nielsen said.

Among the highlights of the study:

  • As the number of channels available to a household increases, so does the number of channels tuned into. In 2007, the average household tuned to 16 – or 13% of the 118.6 channels available – for at least 10 minutes per week.
  • General dramas dominate the English language broadcast networks program lineups, comprising 40% (67 of 168) of the primetime programs, an increase of seven programs from last year. Variety programs make up 23% of English-language network prime time programs.


  • When Spanish language networks are included, general dramas still dominate with 38% (92 of 243) of the total. Variety programs make up 23% (56 of 243) of the total Spanish and English network programs. But, there are more “Other” type programs (34) than situation comedies (33).
  • African Americans continue to watch more television than the total US composite, and Hispanics watch less. Total viewing among all households was 31 hours and 55 minutes per week; it was 45 hours and 22 minutes in African-American households and 27 hours and 13 minutes in Hispanic households.
  • Viewing in African-American households is more likely to be to ad-supported cable television (62%) than broadcast network (40%), whereas Hispanic households watch more broadcast network (51%) than ad-supported cable (46%). The total composite US household tips toward ad-supported cable (58%) compared to broadcast network (40%)
  • The 30-second commercial is still the television advertising standard in primetime, accounting for 60% of all commercial units on English- and Spanish-language broadcast networks.

Trends in Broadcast Network Commercials

  • The 30-second commercial is still the television advertising standard in primetime, accounting for 55% of all units.
  • The 15-second commercial continues to be an important component in advertising:
    • In English-language network daytime television, the 15-second commercial outpaces 30-second commercials, accounting for 53%.
    • Fifteen-second units account for 42% of total English- and Spanish-language combined.
  • The number of commercial minutes aired increased in both daytime and primetime for both English only and English- and Spanish-language combined:
    • In primetime, 30-second and 15-second units make up 93% of all commercials.
    • Together, 15s and 30s account for 94% of the total daytime commercials.

Other TV Facts

  • The average US TV home has 2.5 people and 2.8 television sets.
  • 31% of US TV homes have digital cable.
  • 61% of homes have wired cable hook-ups (down from a high of 68% in 2000) and 27% have satellite or specialized antenna systems to receive television signals, up from 19% in 2005.
  • 82% of US homes have more than one television sets at home.
  • 87% of US homes have a DVD player, with that technology overtaking VCRs,

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