DTV switch doesn't hurt ratings

Percentage of households watching TV remains steady

There may be a couple million homes that cannot receive a TV signal right now. But how many of those households actually watch TV regularly in the first place?

Judging from the early ratings data, not many.

More than 900 stations shut down their analog signals Friday, causing some unprepared viewers to scramble to update their equipment. Yet the percentage of households using television from Friday to Sunday night was pretty steady when compared with previous weekends.

According to Nielsen Media Research, about 52.1% of households watched TV this weekend. The weekend before that: 52.4%. The weekend before that: 53.1%. And before that was Memorial Day weekend, with 50.4%.

Two broadcast analysts for different networks said such numbers are about what you'd expect to see as summer gets under way and does not demonstrate that the digital transition is having any impact.

With heavy sports coverage over the weekend potentially impacting the numbers, however, a firmer judgment about the transition's impact is best made in another week or two.
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