Light Reading
Number of US broadcast-only TV homes jumps again in latest research survey

Antenna TV Roars Back

Mari Silbey
6/24/2013
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Roughly 22 million American households now rely solely on over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts to feed their TV viewing habit. That's the news from research firm GFK, which has recorded a statistically significant increase in OTA-only viewing over the last three years. In 2010, GFK's survey of U.S. homes found just 14 percent of households relying on broadcast-only TV. In 2012, that number jumped to 19.3 percent and now it has risen well above the 20 million mark. The growth in OTA viewing in the U.S. coincides with continuing declines in the number of cable TV subscribers. In the first quarter, for instance, nearly all major U.S. MSOs suffered drops in basic video customers. (See Comcast Suffers Q1 Video Subs Setback.) However, GFK's research comes with a cautionary note for anyone who believes that non-cable homes are full of consumers seeking streaming video alternatives. Few of these cord cutters have an Internet-connected TV, and more than 60 percent said they rely on broadcast signals because of the high cost of pay-TV services, not because of Web video options available. GFK cites the digital television transition as one possible factor in the growth of broadcast-only homes. In some markets, the transition boosted the number and quality of accessible TV channels. The right antenna can also make a big difference, and at least one manufacturer is raking in cash from the trend toward more OTA viewing. Mohu, creator of the Leaf antenna, saw revenues skyrocket 700 percent in 2012 and expects a further 300 percent increase in 2013. (See DirecTV Might Sack Its NFL Exclusive.) — Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

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FrankM
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FrankM,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/9/2013 | 1:07:38 AM
re: Antenna TV Roars Back
The percentage of pay TV subscribers used to be 85%, now it is at 80%. How low will it go before there is a sea change in the industry? 70%? 60%?

Content companies *currently* do not allow a la carte. When the well starts drying up, and they can't increase rates exponentially on a dwindling customer base, there will be some move against the mass bundling of channels.

Google "$200 cable bill by 2020", there are plenty of articles about it. The amount is based on historical rate increases and the practice of channel bundling.

The article above states that 60% of OTA-only households don't have pay TV because of the price. How high will that number be when the $200 cable bill comes around?
brookseven
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brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/8/2013 | 11:36:13 PM
re: Antenna TV Roars Back
Frank,

The content companies won't allow a la carte for their popular programming. If you want to broadcast ESPN, then you need to broadcast about 10 other Disney channels.

seven
FrankM
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FrankM,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/8/2013 | 10:32:04 PM
re: Antenna TV Roars Back
At what percentage will the cable companies finally offer a la carte channels to stop the exodus of customers? ...and get some customers back?
Cable&Satellite Supply
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Cable&Satellite Supply,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/1/2013 | 7:22:22 PM
re: Antenna TV Roars Back
Agreed - we have seen a spike in antenna sales
gconnery
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gconnery,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/26/2013 | 6:02:37 PM
re: Antenna TV Roars Back
Makes sense. Given the runaway increases in cable prices, driven by channel operators demands. Presumably an increasing chunk of the US population can no longer afford the paid TV option. Which means cable channels will see their viewership fall since they aren't available OTA. Also means it'll be tougher for CBS et al to pull their "we're switching to cable only to fight Aereo" plan off without significant backlash/congressional action.

Seriously, 5% of the US population in TWO YEARS? That's a crazy increase.
beastwood
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beastwood,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/25/2013 | 11:51:57 PM
re: Antenna TV Roars Back
This article is spot on. We switched to antenna TV without Internet supplement due to the prohibitive cost of cable (about $100/mo minimum) and our lack of time, though we do occasionally rent videos. There are a surprising number of OTA channels available, some of which are not even accessible through paid TV!
msilbey
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msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
6/25/2013 | 2:56:26 PM
re: Antenna TV Roars Back
Hooray! - More ammunition for DirecTV's threat to broadcasters that it will go back to including antennas in its boxes for OTA tuning.
jtombes
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jtombes,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/25/2013 | 2:47:00 AM
re: Antenna TV Roars Back
Two cheers for (relatively) uncompressed HD OTA video. Hip Hip!
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