TV measurement should include homes with no TVs, research group says

Mobile-only TV watchers skew young

The ARF found 14% of households headed by someone ages 18-34 have no TV sets in them, and 39% of homes with single people ages 18-34 have no TV sets. Even the 35-54 age group skews slightly toward not owning TVs, making up 6% of households in that group.

Roughly four in five of all non-TV-owning households stream TV content to mobile devices only. That group is split about evenly between people with streaming service subscriptions and people who also see conventional linear TV programming via virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (vMVPDs, such as YouTubeTV, Hulu and Sling), said Paul Donato, chief research officer of the ARF.

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All this comes from newly released research from the ARF’s Universe Study of Device and Account Sharing (DASH), a syndicated study of the U.S. TV landscape based on tracking surveys from the University of Chicago. The study underpins how at least some measurement firms, such as VideoAmp and, calibrate data from big-device data sets such as smart TVs and set-top boxes.

Invisible to ‘big data’ measures

But here’s the rub: Those big data sets, which are also an important underpinning of the new Nielsen One Ads cross-platform measurement system, plus Comscore,, VideoAmp and others, don’t get any data from the 5% of U.S. homes that don’t have those devices. VideoAmp, Comscore and, however, are focusing on getting server data direct from publishers to help measure that “non-TV” TV audience on mobile devices.

VideoAmp doesn’t use a general “TV households” construct but instead breaks down the U.S. video landscape into over-the-air, MVPD and streaming-only household types, said Josh Chasin, chief measurability officer. “Households that watch what we think of as ‘TV’ exclusively through devices that aren’t TVs fall into the stream-only bucket,” he said. “We then capture their viewing and campaign exposure via census measurement—using census streaming, desktop and mobile data directly from publisher ad logs.”

The more traditional VideoAmp TV household data does come from smart TV and set-top box data sets from Vizio, Comcast, TiVo and Frontier, he said.