Nielsen is out with their 2019-2020 estimates for U.S. television households. That number is 120.6 million homes, an increase of .6% from last year. What accounts for the growth? Hispanic TV households are expected to grow 2.2% over 2018, and the 55+ audience is expected to grow by 1.6% as more baby boomers start to retire. In total, Nielsen estimates a total TV penetration of 96.1% right now, which is actually UP from 2016’s 95.7%.

TV viewership has never been higher. But here’s the rub…

What “defines” a TV household has also changed in the last few years. Today, a TV household doesn’t just include homes that receive over-the-air, cable, telco or satellite TV. It also includes broadband-only homes that receive video exclusively through an internet connection. If broadband-only homes (BBOs) weren’t included in the TV household report, the trend would be downward, with TV penetration falling to 86.3%. See below:

The lesson in all of this data is that television penetration is exceptionally high, but also that traditional viewing methods are changing right before our eyes with increasing speed. Just look at the below Nielsen chart released this month that shows the fall of cable viewership since 2010, the rise in over-the-air viewership over just the last 2 years, and the dramatically sharp jump in broadband-only consumption, which is where vMVPDs (YouTube TV, Hulu Live, Sling) and OTT content become so key to keeping those audiences in our local Arizona universe.

Need even more data? Just look at this week’s news about pay TV subscribers, where the first quarter of 2019 brought about the largest number of cord cutters to-date.