American TV ownership falls for first time in 20 years

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According to the Nielsen Company the number of US homes which own a television set has declined for the first time in two decades.

The company estimated 114.7 million US households will own TV sets in the coming year, down from the current rate of 115.9 million Americans. This is the first drop in ownership since 1992.

The recent 2009 conversion from analog to digital, on top of the economic decline and a rise in other technologies have all lead to the decline in home TV sets. Many younger viewers no longer rely on a TV, instead they turn to computers and the Internet to watch movies, TV shows and more.

Nielsen is unsure if once the economy returns to strength whether those younger consumers will return to TV or if the shift in technology is more permanent.

"It's undetermined if this is also an economic issue, with these individuals entering the TV marketplace once they have the means, or the beginning of a larger shift to viewing online and on mobile devices," Nielsen said. But, “Nielsen data demonstrates that consumers are viewing more video content across all platforms – rather than replacing one medium with another.”

Nielsen's Pat McDonough noted that media evolves and technology evolves. He also pointed out many are turning away from TV purely for economic reasons.

Some consumers are clearly being driven by the economy to make choices on the media devices they purchase," McDonough told AFP. "Others are expanding their equipment to add more audio/video devices to their home.