TV Household Ownership in the US Will Decline in 2012

Over the past 50 years, networks have relied heavily on Nielsen ratings to determine what shows interested viewers and what shows they should consider canceling. Now, according to Nielsen, which has also monitored how many of us own televisions, household TV ownership in the US will decline, albeit slightly, in 2012. Nielsen and others (some suggesting a history-breaking decline in TV ownership), are indicating that while 115.9 million households owned TVs in 2011, only 114.7 million will still have one on the premises in 2012. Then, too, with an estimated two million vacant homes around the country, this has to influence these findings.

TV Household Ownership in the US Will Decline in 2012That is not to suggest that you should take your television and toss it in the trash since there are many factors causing this modest decline. Some of the reasons are simple, while others indicate a change in viewer habits. One of the reasons I have personally observed involves families searching for areas where they can save money during these economic hard times, such as the cost of cable or satellite TV subscriptions. One such couple didn’t want to go totally without their TV. so they opted to terminate their cable TV contract and return to simple, over-the-air programs by building and installing their own antennas. In a follow-up article, I will describe how they employed a novel but workable alternative to the expense of cable or satellite TV viewing options.

Another reason that some people, especially those on fixed incomes, have eliminated televisions has to do with the recent changes from analog to digital programming. Some of those who had older analog televisions chose not to buy a conversion box for their older TV or failed to realize that the boxes, subsidized by the government, were free for the asking. I would, however, venture a guess that this has little to do with the decline in TV viewing changes or in the number of homes having televisions.

Yet another reason for the decline in TV ownership and/or viewing could be that many parents are unhappy with the inappropriate prime time material being offered, not only on cable, but on network TV. This material includes scenes of near nudity, high sexual innuendo, and inappropriate language.

Lastly, Nielsen reports that younger people are cutting the cord, with some indicators pointing to this group of consumers dumping the traditional television for other devices like computers or tablets. If that is the case, it could mean that the younger, on-the-go generation is simply looking for an alternative to the existing status quo that forces them to be somewhere that has a television box.

These are simply my thoughts about the decline; what are yours?

Comments welcome.

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • Christian Arbec

    I think it is totally true. Look what Netflix and other such subscription services have done. More and more people are killing the cable tv

  • Christian Arbec

    I think it is totally true. Look what Netflix and other such subscription services have done. More and more people are killing the cable tv

  • http://www.kevindowdall.com Kevin Dowdall

    I think that the “T.V.”, or “Cable” companies will stay in business and thrive as long as they keep up to date.  For example, with Xfinity you can watch all your tv channels on your computer, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.  If the TSP’s want to stay in business they need to follow in Comcast’s footsteps with Xfinity. I think that Netflix, and Hulu are good providers if you miss an episode, want to watch a specific episode, but cbs, abc, nbc, syfy etc. now have streaming of there shows on their websites, so whats the point of paying for Netflix or Hulu. You may say that Well Netflix has no adds, but you can’t say that for hulu, which is a more up-to-date service. I think like I said before, they will survive as long as they stay up-to-date. 

  • Jerry

    There are so many commercials on TV now that it’s no wonder TV ownership is down. Here’s a hint for anyone that feels the same way I do. If I want to watch a football game for instance, I start recording it on my DVR and start watching it an hour after the recording started. I can then fast forward past all of the commercials and BS at halftime, watch all of the action, and the game ends at it’s regular time listed.

  • Jerry

    There are so many commercials on TV now that it’s no wonder TV ownership is down. Here’s a hint for anyone that feels the same way I do. If I want to watch a football game for instance, I start recording it on my DVR and start watching it an hour after the recording started. I can then fast forward past all of the commercials and BS at halftime, watch all of the action, and the game ends at it’s regular time listed.

  • Anne Thomas

    I’m not at all surprised, we have one TV in the living room hooked to a computer. Otherwise we watch on our laptops or Ipad..
    Used to have 4..

  • Anne Thomas

    I’m not at all surprised, we have one TV in the living room hooked to a computer. Otherwise we watch on our laptops or Ipad..
    Used to have 4..

  • David

    Just because people may stream content does not mean that they do not watch it on TVs.  I have a Bluray player that connects to Blockbuster, Netflix, Pandora, and several other streaming companies.  However, I get my content, I would rather watch it on a 40″ or 50″ screen rather than something that is smaller than the TV my mother had when she was a kid.  Why would I squint to watch a screen the size of a credit card?

  • David

    Just because people may stream content does not mean that they do not watch it on TVs.  I have a Bluray player that connects to Blockbuster, Netflix, Pandora, and several other streaming companies.  However, I get my content, I would rather watch it on a 40″ or 50″ screen rather than something that is smaller than the TV my mother had when she was a kid.  Why would I squint to watch a screen the size of a credit card?

  • Stacy Croy

    Thinking about eliminating our cable as well. The expense just does not seem justified! 

  • Stacy Croy

    Thinking about eliminating our cable as well. The expense just does not seem justified! 

  • BrandonFranco

    Don’t think it’s going to happen. There is Sports, Local Infornation no PPV, Weather, HBOGO, International programming, and NFL RedZone. #TEAMWHATEVERIAMUSING Data Caps

    • http://twitter.com/dvdchris Chris Cooling

      Is happening, not ‘going to.’ I have had no TV for two years after the last one died.
      Increasingly, young adults are not running out and buying a TV when they get their own place. Unless you want to do home theater, TV is irrelevant in the age of every person in the household having their own laptop/tablet and can pull up virtually any content ever released on it.

  • Wingnut4427

    IMO this is a good thing. People need to get back to their community’s. We have become so disconnected from each other that We now view each other as a potential threat ! We all need to get back to our roots & rediscover our independence.  Otherwise when the time comes none of us will be able to prosper in the messed up world that is coming & if TV is any indication You can assume that most of the decline is due to these so called “Reality shows & Corrupt Media outlets” that have political agendas & are no longer unbiased ! We all need to throw the infernal things out & do some heavy duty soul searching if We are going to save this country.

  • Wingnut4427

    IMO this is a good thing. People need to get back to their community’s. We have become so disconnected from each other that We now view each other as a potential threat ! We all need to get back to our roots & rediscover our independence.  Otherwise when the time comes none of us will be able to prosper in the messed up world that is coming & if TV is any indication You can assume that most of the decline is due to these so called “Reality shows & Corrupt Media outlets” that have political agendas & are no longer unbiased ! We all need to throw the infernal things out & do some heavy duty soul searching if We are going to save this country.

  • http://www.apriltara.com April Tara

    We went from 4 TVs to one. No cable, just a digital converter box. We watch DVDs and Netflix on the TV. And I watch a lot of shows on Hulu. I’ll go through phases where I wish I had cable but then when I do get it, I remember why I don’t like wasting money on it.