A new survey from the US Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has found that very few US households would consider dropping their pay-TV and only 8% rely on over-the-air services.
Contrasting sharply with investigations into the viewing habits of younger audiences, the CEA survey of 1,256 adults found the number of homes that rely on over-the-air TV had plummeted over the last year, consistent with a huge decline that has been in practice since 2005.
Encouragingly for pay-TV operators who may be concerned about cord-cutting younger viewers seeking out OTT services, the adult audience shows very little desire to cancelling their service for with online video or indeed over-the-air broadcast TV. Just over three-quarters (76%) said they were unlikely or very unlikely to cancel pay-TV service; just a tenth of households were likely or very likely to cancel pay-TV service.
Even though the sample was generally unwilling to cancel pay-TV service, CEA did reveal that more and more were indeed viewing OTT video from Hulu, Netflix and others on their TVs. It did confirm that cord-cutting meant a shift to online video but not over-the-air TV.
“Over-the-air TV was once the defining distribution platform,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA president and CEO. “The only cord being cut these days is the one to the antenna. It’s time we accept this shift away from over-the-air TV as an irrevocable fact of the TV market. The numbers tell the story.”
Shapiro added that the survey also showed that using huge swaths of wireless spectrum to deliver TV to homes no longer made economic sense and appealed to the US Congress should pass legislation to allow for incentive auctions so free market dynamics can find the best purposes for underused broadcast spectrum.