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Nielsen Sees Contraction In TV Universe

Nielsen's estimate of the 2012 U.S. TV household universe has dropped by more than a million homes to 114.7 million from 2011, according to just-released figures. That incorporates 2010 census figures and reflects Baby Boomers exiting the 35-49 demo and the increase in diverse populations.

The percentage of homes with a TV also dropped more than 2 percentage points from 98.9% to 96.7%, the first drop since 1990 after Nielsen factored in the 1990 census.

Nielsen says the drop in TV penetration may be reflecting the DTV transition requirement of a set-top for viewing over-the-air signals, the cost of owning a set in a down economy or perhaps cord-cutting of pay TV subscriptions in favor of online or mobile TV viewing rather than over-the-air.