Connected TV Devices by US States

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Connected TV Devices by US States

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has published a report on the number of households and penetration rates of smart TVs and TV-connected devices by state. The Nielsen Local Watch 2017 Q1 and Q4 reports provide city-by-city data on smart TV and streaming device penetration. Although there has been no report published on Internet-connected device penetration on a county-by-county basis, the U.S. Census Bureau has published a report on households with Internet subscriptions on a county-by-county basis. A deeper look at our findings is below.

National telecommunications and Information Administration

  • The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • The NTIA collects data on the number of households with smart TVs and TV-connected devices on a state and national level.
  • The Digital Nation Data Explorer allows the data to be sorted by smart TVs and TV-connected devices, along with many other metrics and demographics.
  • By selecting the "Smart TVs or TV-Connected Device Use" option from the drop-down menu, a map of the United States is displayed with penetration percentages by state for the 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017.
  • Below the map, is a breakdown of number of households that have smart TVs or TV-connected devices by state.
  • The penetration of smart TVs and TV-connected devices is also indicated on the chart below the number of households.
  • A chart that shows the proportion of the population that has smart TVs or TV-connected devices by demographics such as age, employment status, family income, education, sex, race, ethnicity, disability status, veteran status, and others is available by clicking on the "Chart" option below the description of the Digital Nation Data Explorer.
  • The total number of households that have smart TVs or TV-connected devices on a national level is available as well.
  • A sample of the data found is according to the NTIA's database, 790,478 households in Colorado had smart TVs or TV-connected devices for a penetration percentage of 16.3%. In 2017, these numbers had grown to 1,870,456 and 35% respectively.

The Nielsen Local Watch 2017 q1 Report

  • On pages 29 and 30 of the Nielsen Local Watch 2017 Q1 Report, there are two charts that show smart TV penetration by major city.
  • The report also provides information on penetration rates for tablet, SVOD, and smart phone.
  • Penetration rates can be compared year-over-year from 2016 to 2017.
  • The first chart on page 29 is for device penetration in LPM (local people meters) markets.
  • The second chart on page 30 is for device penetration in set meter markets.
  • The full report also contains news consumption trends and "time spent with traditional and TV-connected devices" by city.
  • A sample of the data found is according to the Nielsen Local Watch 2017 Q1 Report, smart TV penetration in Los Angeles, California was 26% in 2016. In 2017, the smart TV penetration in this city had increased to 36%.

The Nielsen local watch report 2017 q4

  • On pages 6 and 7 of the Nielsen Local Watch 2017 Q4 Report, there are two charts that show streaming device penetration by major city.
  • Nielsen has defined "streaming device" as "an internet enabled device capable of streaming content to the TV, which included video game consoles, smart TVs or internet devices such as Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV."
  • The first chart on page 6 is for streaming device penetration in LPM (local people meters) markets.
  • The second chart on page 7 is for streaming device penetration in set meter markets.
  • The full report also contains streaming trends, demographics, monthly reach, frequency among streaming device used, time spent streaming by city.
  • A sample of the data found is according to the Nielsen Local Watch 2017 Q4 Report, streaming device penetration in Kansas City is 60%, while in San Diego it is 71%. Memphis has the lowest streaming device penetration at 41%.

The U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimates

  • The American Community Survey report provides the number of internet subscriptions per household on a county-by-county basis.
  • The data has been downloaded to a Google spreadsheet for easier access.
  • A sample of the data found is according to the U.S. Census' American Community Survey, there are an estimated 57,362 households with internet subscriptions in Baldwin County, Alabama.
  • Using the total number of people in Baldwin County, Alabama (76,133), this would be a penetration percentage of 75%.

Research Strategy

We set out to find reports that provide a breakdown of the proportion of U.S. households with Internet-connected TV devices by county and state by first looking for official government reports that track data about American households. This led us to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and provided us with the number of households by state that have smart TVs and TV connected devices. This satisfied the state portion of the request. We continued to search for this information by county using the NTIA website, but unfortunately, it appears this governmental body only tracks this data by state and does not provide a breakdown of smart TV and TV connected devices by county.

We expanded our search for government reports to the Federal Communications Commission, which is responsible for overseeing "the television, radio and telephone industries in the United States." It was our assumption that this department would provide official data on the number of households with smart TVs or Internet-connected TV devices. We did find some data regarding broadband availability by state and county, wireless mobile penetration by city and state, and Internet access by state, but none of this data met our needs.

As such, we continued our search for county-by-county data by looking for reports from non-governmental entities such as Nielson, Comscore, and Freedom House. Initially, we only found national data, which had already been provided on an earlier report, so we intentionally did not include this information, even as helpful findings. Upon searching the Nielsen website deeper, though, we came across their Local Watch Reports. These reports contained data on a city-by-city basis, which was closer to what we were looking for. However, we were still unable to find any U.S. county data. We identified two Nielsen Local Watch Reports that provided data on smart TV penetration and streaming device penetration on a city level. The other recent Local Watch Reports did not contain data on connected devices, as each report focuses on a different media topic. Due to the lack of county data, we included these city-by-city reports as helpful findings.

Our search then turned to reputable media articles from sources such as Forbes, Columbia Business Times, and NScreenMedia, and market research reports from sources like eMarketer and MarketWatch, but unfortunately, we were only able to find national data. It appears that most reporting sources aggregate the data they receive from their primary reports, much of which the public does not have access to, and provide numbers for the entire country. However, it was during this search that we discovered an article that mentioned a report from the U.S. Census Bureau on Internet subscriptions by household. There was no direct link to the report, but it gave us our next lead, which was to see if the Census Bureau had published any reports on smart TV or Internet connected devices.

After much searching through the Census Bureau, we were directed to the American FactFinder website, which allowed us to search for various reports. We attempted to search for data on Internet-connected TV devices or smart TVs, but there were no results. Therefore, we searched instead for the report mentioned in the article. To obtain this report, we visited the American FactFinder website and clicked on "Advanced Search," then on "Show Me All." We entered "Internet Subscriptions in Household" in the search bar and clicked "Go." In the left bar, we clicked on "Geographies," then selected "County." We clicked on "All Counties within United States, and then on "Add to Your Selections." We selected ID B28001, which is for the "Internet Subscriptions in Household 2017 ACS 5-Year Estimates" table.

This provided us with the number of households that have Internet subscriptions on a county-by-county basis. We realize that this is not the same as the proportion of U.S. households with Internet-connected TV devices by county, but in the absence of that data on such a granular basis, we elected to provide the number of households with Internet subscriptions as helpful findings. It is our assumption that a significant percentage of people who have Internet subscriptions also have Internet-connected devices. While this is not a direct one-for-one relationship, due to the lack of available data on Internet-connected TV devices on a county-by-county basis, we felt this was a close proxy.

For easier access, we downloaded the county-by-county data for the number of households with Internet subscriptions to a Google sheet. All 3,142 counties and their respective data points have been captured on this Google sheet and provide information on households with an Internet subscription and a breakdown of those with dial-up only; those with broadband such as cable, fiber optic, or DSL; those with satellite Internet service; those with other services; those without a subscription; and those with no Internet at all.
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