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Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

U.S. TV Universe Update. Plus the Distribution Footprints of Channels that Buy Documentary & Unscripted Programs

The widely-used Nielsen Household and Persons Universe numbers provide an important context for the economic health of the channels that commission, coproduce and acquire documentary programs.

My valued colleague, Byron Medias John Morse, shared the data and context.

TOTAL U.S TV UNIVERSE:

  • The total US Universe of TV homes increased from 119.9 Million a year ago to 120.6 Million this month.
  • That’s a 700,000 (0.06%) increase in total US TV homes.

Highlights

  • Persons 2+ increased from 305.4 to 307.3 Million.
  • Persons 18-34 increased from 69.8 to 70.1 Million.
  • Persons 18-49 increased from 128.9 to 129.5 Million.
  • Persons 25-54 increased from 120.6 to 121.2 Million.
  • Persons 35-64 increased from 120.6 to 120.6 Million.
  • Persons 55+ increased from 92.0 to 93.4 Million.
  • Hispanics increased from 16.2 to 16.9 Million
  • Asians increased from 6.2 to 6.4 Million
  • African Americans increased from 15.9 to 16.0 Million
  • Broadcast-only homes now stands at 14% of US homes (16.7 Million) as cord cutting continues.

There are now:

  • 91.5 Million Professionals/Owners/Managers (POM)
  • 120.1 Million with Household Income $100K+
  • 87.8 Million with HH Income $125K+

Cord Cutting

Cable network cord-cutting continued through September ’19:

  • Broadcast-only homes now stands at 14% of US homes (16.7 Million).
  • The average network lost 2,884,000 homes year-over-year (-5.2%)
  • The wired cable universe was down 1,414,000 homes (-2.4%).
  • Satellite subscription was down 3,155,000 (-9.4%).
  • These declines were partially offset by additional virtual MVPD carriage of 2,364,000 homes for the average network
  • (vMVPD = network programming delivered through the Internet including Sling, DirecTV Now, SONY PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live, YouTube TV, Fubo TV, and Philo).

Byron Media: More Information & Analysis

  • For a free copy of the full report, contact John Morse.
  • Whether it’s audience measurement, distribution, ad sales, marketing/promotion, multi-platform, “big data” usage, or program content and scheduling, Byron Media makes the bottom-line difference for companies.
  • Call 516-627-5634 or contact John@ByronMedia.com

DISTRIBUTION OF NETWORKS THAT COMMISSION FACTUAL PROGRAMS

The table below captures Nielsen’s estimates of the HOUSEHOLD distribution universe for U.S. Cab / Sat channels:

  • My selection focuses on 42 networks that are dedicated to unscripted programs, or that include factual and/or Reality.
  • They are ranked by SCALE, beginning with the most broadly distributed.
NETWORKU.S. HOUSEHOLD
UNIVERSE ‘(000)
FOOD88,623
TBS88,540
HGTV87,909
USA NETWORK87,747
CNN / HLN87,697
TNT87,681
DISCOVERY87,678
FX86,926
NAT GEO CHANNEL86,471
HISTORY86,354
TLC85,842
E!85,578
A&E85,401
LIFETIME85,312
SYFY85,272
BRAVO85,051
ANIMAL PLANET84,569
MSNBC84,016
FOX NEWS83,762
TRU TV83,272
ID82,807
VH181,324
TRAVEL81,271
MTV80,509
WE TV80,335
WEATHER78,810
BBC-AMERICA78,433
BET77,037
MOTOR TREND73,229
OWN (OPRAH)70,990
OXYGEN70,486
SUNDANCE TV67,970
MTV264,063
NAT GEO WILD58,926
SCIENCE56,566
COOKING55,931
REELZ55,206
BABY FIRST TV53,336
DIY50,817
FYI50,585
DISCOVERY FAMILY49,261
GAC46,471
AMERICAN HEROES44,854
FUSE43,463
OVATION41,522
DESTINATION AMERICA41,376
DISCOVERY LIFE39,343
SMITHSONIAN38,224
OUTDOOR32,264
HBO PRIME29,369
JUSTICE CENTRAL28,133
SHOWTIME27,041


Peter’s Takeaways:

Highlights

  • The average linear network measured nationally by Nielsen is carried in 60,076,000 homes.
  • Food Network has the largest HH distribution: 88,623,000.
  • Food also has the largest number of vMVPD homes: 5,701,000, up 167,000 past month.

Crime Still Pays

Slow Sunset

  • The U.S. Cab / Sat channels subscriber universe is not falling off a cliff, but is in steady decline.
  • However, U.S. channels enjoy long-term distribution agreements, earning carriage fees as well as advertising revenues.
  • The channels combined are now — and will remain — massive buyers of unscripted programs for the foreseeable future.
  • Their buying volume is necessary to sustain their 24 x 7 schedules.
  • Netflix and the SVOD‘s don’t purchase factual programs at the same volume as leading factual channels:
    • The leading online platforms acquire just enough documentaries and unscripted entertainment to attract and retain subscribers.
    • Their customers are primarily drawn to binge-watchable scripted series.
    • See my coverage of Netflix online engagement comparing top Originals in the Documentary and Scripted categories.

Nielsen Data

  • Nielsen updates all its universe national base counts once per year, effective each September.
  • For the full report, contact my colleague John Morse:  John@ByronMedia.com