Nielsen, the TV ratings people, are out with the 2012 edition of their Television Audience report. Much of this is a repackaging of data released previously by Nielsen to its clients. But I hadn't seen it before. Amidst all the charts and graphs, two stunners:
• The total number of U.S. households with TV sets declined year to year for the first time since Nielsen started counting TV ownership.
• The number of households with no TV at all is at its highest level since 1975. Three percent of homes are TV-free.
The decline was not trivial, either — from 115.9 million TV households in 2011, Nielsen estimates that only 114.7 million homes in the U.S. will have a TV set in 2012. That’s a decline of almost 1 percent at a time when the total number of U.S. households continues to grow.