For the 2010-2011 broadcast season, the total number of TV households in the US will climb to 115.9 million, an increase of 1 million homes (0.9%) from last year, according to new estimates from The Nielsen Company.
Nielsen also estimates an increase of more than 2 million persons (roughly 0.7%) age 2 and older in US TV households, for a total of 294.65 million people.
New York Remains Top Market
The rankings of the top 10 local TV markets were unchanged, but in the top 20, the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area moved ahead of Denver. No new markets entered the top 100. However, there were several changes within the ranks. Austin, TX had the largest spike within the top 100 ranks, moving from 48 to 44.
Markets ranked in the top 20 were fairly evenly distributed among major geographical areas of the US. Four markets – New York, Philadelphia, Boston (Manchester) and Washington, DC, are Northeast/Mid-Atlantic. Another five – Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Seattle-Tacoma, Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto and Phoenix, are West. Six markets – Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Atlanta, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota) and Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, are South. And five markets – Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Cleveland-Akron (Canton), are Midwest.
Two TX Markets Rise the Most
There were more changes in the rankings compared to last year, yet still not as many as previous years. It was a tie for the largest increase in TV households, with Odessa-Midland and Austin, TX both rising four spots. Nielsen analysis indicates the decline in the overall number of rank changes the past few years reflects overall slower household growth in the US and large declines in domestic migration, particularly to Sun Belt areas.
Major metropolitan areas lost less population than usual, Nielsen says, partially attributable to Baby Boomers delaying retirement plans, individuals unable to sell their homes, and/or individuals unwilling to move away from job-heavy markets. However, the recent increase in rank changes for this year seems to imply some of these phenomena are relatively short term and/or heavily contingent upon economic conditions.
Florida Markets Show Mixed Growth Patterns
While Nielsen data shows many Florida markets dropped in rank in the latest estimate (Tampa, Miami, Ft. Myers, Tallahassee), partially as a result of reduced domestic migration, there is evidence of some bounceback for certain Florida, markets such as Miami and Tallahassee.
Furthermore, previous “high-growth” markets (e.g. Las Vegas, Florida markets) which showed diminished growth or even declines in the last two estimates, seemed to “stabilize” (i.e,. maintain rank) for the most recent estimate.
Nielsen advises that for all these markets, the decreases and/or growths do not necessarily reflect a true decline in population or households. The estimates may also reflect an adjustment to align with the most recent information from the US Census Bureau.
New Orleans Drops One Spot
For the first time since the Hurricane Katrina recovery period, the New Orleans market rank has declined (from 51 to 52). Though population in the market has increased, Nielsen says recent trends in Persons Per Household (PPH) indicate that previous PPH assumptions were too conservative (i.e. assuming fewer people per household). To better reflect contemporary population dynamics in the area, Nielsen increased the PPH ratio for the recent estimate, based on recent US Census Bureau data, resulting in a smaller than usual increase in the Total Household estimate for this year, which allowed the Buffalo market to pass New Orleans.
TVs Drop in Importance
Consumers are increasingly less likely to consider TV sets as necessities, according to new data from the Pew Social & Demographic Trends Center. Just 42% of Americans say they consider the TV set to be a necessity in 2010. By comparison, this figure was 52% in 2009 and in 2006, it was 64%.