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Inside Move: L.A. loses TV households

Census data causing estimates to fluctuate

Are people across Los Angeles, fed up with mediocre sitcoms and gross-out reality series, throwing out their TV sets?

According to Nielsen Media Research, which recently released its list of local television markets for the new season, Los Angeles has lost 50,660 TV households — from 5,354,150 last year to 5,303,490 in 2001.

New York, in contrast, gained 365,450 TV households vs. last year, while even Chicago saw a jump of 115,920 homes. The only other major markets to see declines were San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (minus 5,710 TV households) and San Diego (which lost 20,530 homes).

Perhaps an anti-TV revolt is brewing in California residences. But Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus admits the reason behind the drop likely isn’t sinister. “The estimate used for the previous year was probably a bit off,” he said. “This year we’re closer to being right. We now have a first look at census data and have translated that into TV households.”

Loftus also points out that a drop of 50,660 homes is a blip in the statistical world.

But hold on to your antennas: The number of TV households may fluctuate again next year, when Nielsen gets its first crack at the census’ demographic info. “This is our best estimate right now, without all the census demo data filled in,” he said. “It may all change again.”

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