30.3% of American TV Households Subscribe to Alternative Delivery, An All-Time High


NEW YORK, June 16, 2010 – More American TV households are receiving video programming via an alternate delivery system (ADS) than ever before, according to a TVB analysis of Nielsen Media Research data for May 2010, while wired-cable penetration declined.

According to Nielsen NTI data, national ADS penetration broke through the 30% milestone for the first time last month, reaching 30.3% of television households. That is an all-time high that is up from 28.6% in May 2009, and now represents 33.4% of subscription television customers (those paying for video delivery), another all-time high. Wired-cable penetration, on the other hand, declined to 61.1% in May 2010 from 62.3% in May 2009.

"Advertisers who buy cable locally need to know that local wired cable systems' ability to deliver commercials continues to erode. In fact, in 33 markets, a majority of those paying for video programming are now getting that programming via ADS rather than from a wired-cable system," said Susan Cuccinello, Senior Vice President, Research, TVB. "Local cable commercials are not seen in ADS homes, and so local advertisers need to deduct the ADS percentage of the audience if they are included in the cable systems' submissions." In November 2003 Nielsen Media Research began making available hard-wired local cable numbers and excluding ADS homes via its Total Viewing Sources DVD. But some third-party processors are still adjusting their software products to use the DVD and the printed Nielsen books do not break out the numbers separately, so some advertisers still need to make ADS deductions manually.

The not-for-profit Television Bureau of Advertising is the trade association of local television broadcasters. Its members include television broadcast groups, advertising sales rep firms, and more than 500 individual stations.

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