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U.S. TV Viewers Have Rediscovered Free Viewing With Over-The-Air TV Antennas.

After falling out of favor for many years, over-the-air (OTA) TV--which is received without a cable or satellite subscription--is becoming a big thing again. Nielsen, the U.S. TV rating service, considers it "one of the best things to happen to cord-cutters and cord-shavers, as it offers them free TV through a digital indoor or outdoor antenna." Plus, with the shift to digital broadcasting, OTA viewers are getting more channels--in HD quality.

According to May 2018 Nielsen population estimates, there are over 16 million OTA homes in the U.S., or just over 14 percent of households. In 2010, that number was 11 million. And, as an increasing number of consumers consider a more a-la-carte approach to their television sources, there is opportunity for this segment to continue growing.

These OTA homes are a mix of audience groups that consume TV content in different ways. Some are standard OTA homes that access programming with a digital antenna, but most pair their OTA line-up with streaming services. As of May 2018, 41 percent of OTA homes are traditional, without a streaming service provider, while 59 percent have streaming services.

To further muddy the waters, a third type of OTA home subscribes to a virtual video multichannel programming distributor (vMVPD) commonly known as a "skinny bundle," which allows them to stream cable programs. This group falls directly into the streaming service segment (Plus SVoD) that makes up 59 percent of OTA homes. As of May 2018, it accounted for eight percent of OTA, or 1.3 million homes.

The average adult in an OTA home spends three hours each day (about 1,100 hours per year) watching broadcast content on TV, and three different audience segments (no SVoD; OTA + SVoD; OTA + SVoD w/ vMVPD) make up that number.

Those without SVoD spend four hours and 51 minutes with broadcast TV each day. However, higher fragmentation driven by Internet-connected device usage brings broadcast viewing down, but SVoD homes with and without a vMVPD still clock over an hour per day. Cable viewing picks up steam with vMVPD access, but still lags behind broadcast viewing. Regardless of OTA home type, broadcast TV is a daily go-to source for content on the TV screen.

The complete Nielsen report is also available online at: us/en/insights/reports/2019/ nielsen-local-watch-report-the-evolving-ota-home.html.

Caption: Daily TV time among U.S. OTA homes (adults 18+)

Caption: Growth in over-the-air TV homes

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Title Annotation:World
Comment:U.S. TV Viewers Have Rediscovered Free Viewing With Over-The-Air TV Antennas.(World)
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Apr 1, 2019
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