This post first appeared on ProActive Communications President Mark Serrano’s blog, PowerTrip.

Only 3% of all of American homes had more than one television set in 1955. As the middle class grew and the size of screens grew through the years, 40% of households had more than one TV. In 2011, 31% of all homes with TV had four or more TV screens (35.9 million homes with 144 million screens) in their homes.

What a difference a couple of generations make.

By 2011, there were 274 million Americans with Internet access in their homes – twice as many as in 2000. This allowed 165.9 million people to watch video on a computer, as well as 169.6 million visitors to social networks/blogs.

These are some of the data points that come from a recent report from Nielsen, the data and information group known for measuring the viewership of television shows. State of the Media: U.S. Digital Consumer Report (Q3-Q4 2011) reflects trends in digital consumption, especially since 2000 as a benchmark year.

With the introduction of YouTube, smartphones, and computer tablets, access to the Internet and online video is exploding. While broadcast television ratings have been in decline in recent years, and online video consumption is growing by the month, it’s clear that there is still a lot of market to capture as viewers are now also beginning to seek access to broadcast and cable content online, thanks largely to the success of Netflix. Here are some more TV and online video stats of note:

  • TV Watching in the home still totals 146 hours per month
  • Watching video on the Internet is now at an average of 4 hours and 31 minutes per month per user
  • Watching video on a mobile phone is now at 4 hours and 20 minutes per month per user.

Now with the growing integration of online video platforms with the major social media sites, watch for video to further explode, leading to the rise of all new cottage industries as we have seen with other products and sectors in recent years.

The macro economic factors here will hopefully help fuel a real recovery that our economy has been lacking since the official end of the recession in 2009.

The micro economic factors will continue to lead to more and more screens of all sizes in American households with all the more acces to social sites and online video, and hopefully greater competition that will provide benefits to consumers who spend on data plans, Internet access, and the products that deliver them.

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Photo credit: www.kidscreen.com / *Some data from: The Evolution of TV Viewing by John Carey