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.
That 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?