Although cable television remains the dominant means of distribution for television in the United States penetration is slowly decreasing because of increasing competition. More American households are receiving video programming via an alternate delivery system (ADS) than ever before while MSOs lost 2.3 million subscribers and wired cable’s penetration percentage hit a 17-year low, according to a TVB (Television Bureau of Advertising) analysis of Nielsen Media Research data for February 2007.
According to Nielsen data, national ADS penetration reached 25.8% in February 2007, up from 21.6% in February 2006, and now represents 29.8% of subscription television customers. Over the same period, wired cable penetration fell from 64.1% to 61.3%. The number of wired cable subscribers dropped to 68.3 million in February from 70.6 million a year earlier. Direct broadcast satellite (DTH) delivery is now estimated at 25.2%, up from 21.0% in February 2006.
The same research also shows that the number of television channels the average U.S. home receives reached a record high of 104.2, an increase of almost eight since 2005 and a record level. As the number of channels available to a household increases, so does the number of channels tuned. In 2006, the average household tuned to 15.7, or 15.1% of the channels available for at least 10 minutes per week. The 30-second commercial is still the television-advertising standard in prime time, accounting for 57% of all commercial units.