Expanding universe

Nielsen nears 100 mil in TV home numbers

The U.S. TV universe is on the verge of reaching but hasn’t quite surpassed the 100 million home threshold, according to updated universe estimates issued by Nielsen Media Research that will determine the numerical worth of rating points for the coming year.

Effective Aug. 31, a Nielsen rating point will represent 994,000 homes or 1% of the country’s 99.4 million TV households. That’s a 1.4% increase over the 98.0 million Nielsen’s been using for the past year, the biggest jump in the Nielsen estimate in nine years.

Assuming the rate of increase is more or less consistent over the coming year, the U.S. universe will have easily topped 100 million homes by the next scheduled Nielsen update of its estimates in the summer of 1999.

Nielsen’s new figure for the country’s total population of persons age 2 and older has increased by 1% in the past year to 256.63 million.

According to Nielsen, the fastest-growing segments of the population are those with members of the baby-boom generation. Thus Nielsen’s estimate of adults ages 35-64 is up 2.3% to 101.76 million and the adults 25-54 category is up 0.8% to 116.82 million.

Demo growing slowly

The coveted adults 18-49 demo is bigger, but growing more slowly, up 0.3% to 123.90 million. Sometimes dismissed as a ”narrow” demo, adults 18-49 currently reps 48% of the persons 2-and-older population.

In the new Nielsen estimates, teens 12-17 have inched up 0.3% to 22.14 million, and kids 2-11 grew by 0.6% to 39.43 million. The recent mini baby boom appears to be subsiding, with kids 2-5 dropping 0.9% to 15.54 million.

Nielsen’s figures include an estimate of the population of working women in the U.S., and this year that figure expanded by 4.1% to 47.80 million or 47% of all women 18 and older.

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