Television Industry - Statistics & Facts

Ernie Kovacs, an American comedian and actor, once said that television was called a medium because it was "neither rare nor well done.” Even though Kovacs died in 1962, his words apply to modern-day TV more than ever.


TV is the most used medium in the United States. It reaches almost 90 percent of the U.S. population and, on average, an American spends over 4.5 hours daily watching TV. Almost 29 percent of American households reported owning an enabled smart TV in 2017, illustrating how the presence of television in households remains strong. Audiences are able to choose from a plethora of programs, with latest figures suggesting there are almost 1,800 TV stations in total.

Recently, trends show that people are starting to turn away from traditional TV, as they begin to look for more interactive entertainment and online sources, including subscription video on demand services, such as Netflix. The number of TV households in the United States has nevertheless increased over the last five years. Despite this seemingly positive trend, viewers have reduced their spending on TV services and watch less TV than they used to. This, in turn, has been very beneficial to the internet, as the amount of time spent online is increasing at a rapid pace.

Advertising and subscription fees, which are the two most important sources of revenue for the sector, will continue bringing in profits for the television industry. Local TV advertising spending has remained relatively steady over the last decade and is projected to be at a similar level in 2021 than it was in 2010. However, in line with the increasing move to online television and entertainment, the share of online TV in TV advertising revenue has grown in recent years, from a 3.1 percent share of the revenue in 2012 to an estimated 4.4 percent in 2016.

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Television in the U.S. - Important statistics

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