TV Ownership in U.S. Drops for 1st Time in 20 Years: Internet to Blame?

According to the latest estimates from Nielsen, TV ownership in the U.S. dropped from 98.9% to 96.7% over the last year. This is the first time these numbers have dropped since 1990. According to Nielsen, there are two reasons for this drop: 1) lower-income, rural households were not able to afford the necessary equipment for making the transition from analog to digital over-the-air TV and 2) as TV content becomes available on multiple devices, “a small subset of younger, urban consumers are going without paid TV subscriptions.”

Naturally, there will be some debate over the role the Internet plays in this, especially given the fact that Nielsen doesn’t offer any specific numbers to back up either of these assertions. My feeling, though, is that cord cutters who give up their cable subscriptions in favor of going Internet TV-only are only responsible for a small part of this drop in TV ownership and that the current economic climate is to blame for most of the drop.

Once You Cut the Cord, Any Screen Will Do

I would not be surprised, however, if the number of those who forgo TV ownership in favor of just using their 30-inch computer monitors or laptop screens would increase dramatically over the next few years. At the end of the day, a TV is just another screen, after all, and once you’ve cut the cord to your cable provider, you can just as well use any other screen in your household to watch TV content.

Image credit: Flickr user William Hook.