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Nielsen Estimates 116.3 Million TV Homes In the U.S., Up 0.4%

2 minute read | May 2014

Both the universe of U.S. television homes and the potential TV audience in those homes continue to grow. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Advance National TV Household Universe Estimate (UE), there are 116.3 million TV homes in the U.S., up 0.4 percent from the 2013-2014 estimate of 115.6 million. Nielsen estimates that nearly 296 million persons age 2 and older live in these TV homes, an increase of 0.5 percent from last year.

Nielsen uses U.S. Census Bureau data and auxiliary sources, such as state governments, to arrive at Advance TV UEs in early May before the television industry’s upfronts. It then distributes final UEs before the start of each TV season.

The 2015 National UEs reflect 1) real changes in population since last year and 2) updated TV penetration levels, differentially calculated for qualifying market break and age/sex demographic categories.

“This year’s Advance National TV UEs are as we expected,” said Pat McDonough, SVP Insights and Analysis, Nielsen. “We saw smaller shifts in population changes when compared to last year, especially among ethnic populations. The Advance UEs are largely stable demonstrating that television viewing remains very strong. This year marks the second upfront season since Nielsen expanded the definition of a TV household to include viewing from new broadband-only homes and additional sites in current homes. We continue to work with our clients to understand any impact that including this small-but-growing segment has had on the data.


Nielsen applies TV penetrations to convert the total household and population estimates to TV households and persons therein. The 2015 TV penetration for U.S. households was estimated based on data collected during the recruitment of homes for Nielsen’s People Meter panel. Nielsen’s new definition of a TV household states that homes must have at least one operable TV/monitor with the ability to deliver video via traditional means of antennae, cable set-top-box or satellite receiver and/or with a broadband connection.

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