Stations Lost 8 Percent Audience Share After DTV Transition

NEW YORK: TV stations that went digital-only immediately lost, on average, an 8 percent audience share after the DTV transition. That’s according to a post mortem by Nielsen. The firm said half of the 8 percent decline was attributable to homes that had no digital reception devices--either TVs or digital-to-analog converter boxes. Another 13 percent of the analog audience, i.e., households receiving TV before the transition, had at least one TV set wasn’t adapted for digital reception. Nielsen said these homes likely accounted for some of the share loss as well.

TV stations that moved their signals from UHF to VHF assignments fared a bit worse than the average. Those stations experienced a 13 percent share decline. In some cases, households that lost signal had antennas that were oriented for UHF reception.

Spanish-language broadcasters also lost more households in the transition. Nielsen said about 9 percent of the ratings for Spanish-language networks came from TV sets that weren’t adapted for digital reception.

Nielsen said seasonality could have been a factor in the declines. TV viewing traditionally falls during the summer, though the measurements were taken immediately after the June 12 transition. Nielsen compared the two-week period after the transition to the two weeks prior. The full share decline was 8.4 percent in that period. During the third and fourth week reaching into July, share was 9.3 percent lower. The typical mid-June drop is between 2.4 and 3.6 percent.

Viewership of non-simulcast diginets was said to increase “modestly” after the transition. These continue to be tracked.

More details of Nielsen’s DTV transition post mortem are available at Nielsen Wire.

(Image by mightykenny)