U.S. TV Households Receive Record Number of Nets

The average number of channels received by U.S. TV homes reached a record high last year of 118.6, according to Nielsen.

The New York media research firm found that 58 percent of homes received more than 100 channels, while 26 percent received between 60 and 99 channels.

Further research indicated that the average U.S. TV households received 17 broadcast stations. Over all, 44 percent received up to 19 stations and 21 percent of homes received between 20 and 29 broadcast stations.

The number of channels tuned increased alongside channel choice, though channels “viewed” decreased. For 2007, the average TV household tuned into 16 of the 118-plus channels for at least 10 minutes during the week. (Nielsen didn't included data for channels viewed.)

African Americans continued to watch more TV than the total U.S. composite, which averaged 31 hours and 55 minutes per week. Viewing time in African American households averaged 45 hours and 22 minutes, and was more likely to be cable--62 percent--than broadcast--40 percent. Hispanics clocked in under the national average with a viewing time of 27 hours and 13 minutes, more of it broadcast--51 percent--than cable--46 percent. Overall, 58 percent of households tuned into cable compared to around 40 percent for broadcast.

Dramas dominated English-language networks, accounting for 67 of 168, or 40 percent, of prime time programs. Adding Spanish-language networks brings the total to 92 of 243 shows in the drama category. Variety shows comprised 23 percent of prime time for English- and Spanish-language nets combined.

On the ad front, the 30-second spot remained the standard, accounting for 55 percent of all air-time units. In daytime however, the 15-second spot beat out the 30-second, accounting for 53 percent of ad air time on English-language nets, and 42 percent when Spanish-language nets are added.

Additional Nielsen findings:
-- The average U.S. TV home has 2.5 people and 2.8 television sets
-- 31 percent of U.S. TV homes have digital cable
-- 61 percent have wired cable hook-ups (down from a high of 68 percent in 2000)
-- 27 percent have satellite or special antenna reception systems, up from 19 percent in 2005.
-- 82 percent of U.S homes have more than one television set
-- 87 percent of U.S. homes have a DVD player
-- 79 percent have VCRs