US television market boosted by DVRs, HD

21 September 2010

NEW YORK: TV ownership in the US continues to increase as HD access improves and DVRs gain popularity, new data from Nielsen indicate.

The media research firm found that the number of homes with at least one set has increased by 0.9% to 115m over the last year, while almost a third of TV-owning households retain four or more sets.

Nielsen also noted a diversification of TV viewing habits over recent years - reflecting the general global trend towards more fragmented media consumption.

High-end sets are becoming more attainable, with the number of households capable of receiving HD TV rising to 54.2% in July 2010, up from just 10% in July 2007.

The most-watched programme genres in HD households were science fiction shows, sports events and sports commentary shows.

Meanwhile, penetration of DVR services - which allow viewers to record shows and play them back later - rose from 1.2% in July 2006 to 37% in July 2010, with the typical user now watching two hours and nine minutes of "timeshifted" content per week.

The top three most-"DVR'd" broadcast shows over the September 2009-May 2010 period were American Idol, on Fox, Grey's Anatomy (ABC) and House (Fox).

DVRs are popular among over-45s, who made up 37% of owners in 2009, up from 28% in 2006.

This reflects the generally higher popularity of TV as a medium among older consumers.

Nielsen found that the typical American watches 35 hours and 34 minutes of TV per week, a total that rises to 48 hours and 54 minutes for over-65s.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff