OTA TV Viewing: Found In Nearly 1 in 4 Broadband Homes


NEW YORK — If you think we’re in the midst of an “audio renaissance,” could broadcast TV’s big comeback be unfolding, too?

New research from Parks Associates suggests that may be the case, given the percentage of U.S. broadband households that use a digital antenna to watch over-the-air broadcasts.

RBR+TVBR OBSERVATION: This study couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for broadcast TV, which just completed Upfront Week. FULL TEXT BELOW FOR MEMBERS ONLY.


The Parks study shows that approximately 22% of U.S. broadband households use an antenna to watch over-the-air broadcasts.

Further, households with both antennas and pay TV are likely to watch a lot of video content: they’re more likely to subscribe to multiple OTT video services. Plus, Parks finds, these households are more likely to own connected entertainment devices than the average broadband household or pay-TV-only households.

The findings were presented on Wednesday (5/15) at an analyst roundtable conducted at The Pay TV Show — an affair conducted not in midtown Manhattan but concurrently in a market that is home to DISH Network: Denver.

“We see two different groups of antenna users today,” said Brett Sappington, Senior Director of Research at Parks Associates. “Some do use antennas exclusively, providing them with a no-cost way to get quality entertainment, live sports, and news. However, a second group uses antennas and over-the-air content as a supplement to a much larger entertainment portfolio. This segment is leading the demand for universal discovery across multiple content sources that simplifies the process of quickly finding something to watch.”

Parks Associates: Types of TV Services/Use Cases


RBR+TVBR OBSERVATION: This study couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for broadcast TV, which just completed Upfront Week. With Amazon Video using guerrilla marketing tactics to get noticed and companies such as Univision Communications taking a page out of Discovery’s former multicultural playbook by putting a focus on “feel,” it is getting harder than ever to convince marketers and consumers to devote their limited time to the video content they offer. Broadcast media, thanks to live need-to-see now content, will always win. In our home office in Delray Beach, Fla., a $22 digital TV antenna is connected to a TV. We can get every network but ABC, as the in-DMA tower is well to our north and WPLG-10 in Miami is just far enough away where we can’t receive a signal. Still, it’s worth the $22 … and we can watch WPLG’s local news programming via an App on Roku. Think we’re alone. A friend who has two young children cut the cord last year and last week decided the DirecTV NOW bill was even too much. Now, he has Netflix, and uses apps on Roku for any other needs. A digital antenna is being acquired at Best Buy. Broadcast networks and affiliates have a fine future. It is basic cable that is in trouble, while expanded basic channels may as well sign off the air today. Who needs a $99 cable bill to get a channel showing back-to-back episodes of “Gilmore Girls” from 3pm-9pm? OK, some may want it. But that’s a stark comparison to the local news, weather and sports that is vital to all consumers. Only broadcast TV has that value proposition, and it is not about to change at any point in the near future. That’s great news for advertisers, and even better for consumers.