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Nielsen Reports Television Tuning Remains at Record Levels

Digital Video Recorders Grow in Popularity

The Nielsen Company reported today that television tuning during the 2006-2007 television year (September 18, 2006 to September 23, 2007) remained at the record levels set the previous year. Viewing nearly reached the record levels of a year ago, and the number of homes with Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) more than doubled.

According to Nielsen:

  • The total average time a household had a TV set tuned during the 2006-2007 television year was 8 hours and 14 minutes per day, the same amount of time as during the 2005-2006 season (September 19, 2005 to September 17, 2006) and a record high. (See Table 1.)
  • The average amount of television watched by individual viewers during the 2006-07 television year dipped by 1 minute per day to 4 hours and 34 minutes.
  • The number of households with Digital Video Recorders has grown steadily over the past several years, and as of today stands at 20.5% of Nielsen’s National People Meter sample. This is up from 17.2% in May 2007. When Nielsen began including households with DVRs in its samples in January 2006, DVR penetration was estimated to be approximately 8% of households.

“Television clearly remains a very important part of daily life in the United States,” noted Patricia McDonough, Senior Vice President of Planning Policy & Analysis at Nielsen Media Research. “There are numerous screens competing for time and attention as well as consumer devices providing new ways for viewers to watch their favorite shows. Regardless, these trends demonstrate that tuning to traditional television remains strong.”

Season Milestones
During the 2006-2007 television year, which ended on September 23, 2007, Nielsen achieved a number of milestones that enabled it to provide even more precise information about television viewing. These milestones, which reflect Nielsen’s commitment to continuous improvement in television measurement, include:

  • The 2006-2007 television year was the first full year in which measurement of digital video recording was included in Nielsen’s estimates.
  • Nielsen’s “Extended Home” initiative, which went into effect on January 29, 2007, allowed students in sample households to have their viewing at their campus housing including in the Nielsen ratings for the first time, thus providing a more complete count of viewing among these young adults.
  • On May 31, 2007, Nielsen began providing a standardized measure of audiences for the average commercial minute within programs, thus enabling all users of the ratings data to evaluate the way advertising is bought, sold and analyzed.

Table 1 – Total Day Tuning &Viewing — A 10-Year Trend

Broadcast Year Average Hours: Minutes Average Hours: Minutes
(Sept-Sept) Total Day Total Day
2006 – 2007 8:14*+ 4:34*+
2005 – 2006 8:14+ 4:35+
2004 – 2005 8:11 4:32
2003 – 2004 8:01 4:25
2002 – 2003 7.55 4.25
2001 – 2002 7.42 4.18
2000 – 2001 7.39 4.15
1999 – 2000 7.31 4.06
1998 – 1999 7.24 4
1997 – 1998 7.15 3.58
1996 – 1997 7.12 3.56

*Through 9/23/07 Live+7

Table 2 – Primetime Tuning & Viewing Levels – a 10 Year Trend

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Broadcast Year Average Hours: Minutes Average Hours: Minutes
(Sept-Sept) Primetime Primetime
2006 – 2007 1:52*+ 1:10*+
2005 – 2006 1:54+ 1:11+
2004 – 2005 1:53 1:11
2003 – 2004 1:52 1:10
2002 – 2003 1:52 1:10
2001 – 2002 1:51 1:10
2000 – 2001 1:52 1:10
1999 – 2000 1:51 1:09
1998 – 1999 1:50 1:08
1997 – 1998 1:49 1:08

*Through 9/23/07 Live+7

About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions and recognized brands in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), online intelligence (Nielsen Online), mobile media (Nielsen Mobile), trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York, USA. For more information, please visit,

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