The average US TV home now receives 189 TV channels — a record high and significant jump since 2008, when the average home received 129 channels. Despite this increase, however, according to Nielsen's forthcoming Advertising & Audiences Report, consumers have consistently tuned in to an average of just 17 of them.
"Americans have no shortage of options in every aspect of their lives," Nielsen said in a blog post. "The proliferation of devices for consuming content has enabled more choices than most can count. But the 'problem' of having too many options — including a growing expanse of content — doesn't seem to be having an impact on our TV viewing preferences."
While the number of channels has increased per household, the number watched has stayed steady. Back in 2008, US households but only actually viewed 17.3 channels. In 2013, the number of channels received increased 46%, but the number of channels viewed only increased 1%.
"This data is significant in that it substantiates the notion that more content does not necessarily equate to more channel consumption," Nielsen said. "And that means quality is imperative — for both content creators and advertisers. So the best way to reach consumers in a world with myriad options is to be the best option."
- Michelle Clancy