The number of U.S. TV households fell by 500,000, reflecting the popularity of online viewing and results of the 2010 census, according to Nielsen, producer of the weekly ratings that help set advertising rates.
The cut in U.S. TV households to 114.2 million took effect Aug. 27 and will apply to the television season starting this week, Nielsen Holdings said today in an e-mailed statement.
Nielsen said it's working with TV and advertising clients on what should constitute a TV home and TV device, suggesting online content may be counted. This is the second straight year Nielsen has decreased the number of homes with TVs. In May 2011, Nielsen reduced the number to 114.7 million, a 1% drop and the first decline since 1990.
In the past year, three of the four largest broadcast networks experienced drops in audiences ranging from 2% to more than 8%. Comcast's NBC, bolstered by the Olympics and football, increased its viewership by 19%, according to Nielsen data.