US antenna penetration grows 38% year-on-year | Broadcast | News | Rapid TV News
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Even though streaming has boomed over the last few years, and rapidly accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the potentially disrupting role of over-the-air (OTA) access to and viewing of TV content has been somewhat understated and the ongoing sector is equally as fast-growing says a study from Horowitz Research.
Horowitz state of ota 10Feb2021
According to the State of OTA 2020 study, two-fifths of US TV content viewers over 18 report owning an OTA antenna, up from 29% compared with the same time a year ago. With Nielsen estimating that there are 121 million TV households for the 2020-2021 TV season, Horowitz said that this translates to approximately 48.4 million households with an antenna. Demographically, the data show large increases in antenna penetration among black households (year-on-year 27% to 39%), among white, non-Hispanic households (25% to 43%), and importantly, among 18-34 year-olds (20% to 42%), a 110% increase year over year.

OTA viewers are largely not OTA-only viewers: OTA viewers frequently combine their antenna usage with MVPDs and/or streaming services. Antenna users survey said they spend 6.4 hours a day watching TV and, on average, spend a third of their viewing time with over-the-air content. 82% of antenna users are also streamers and 59% also subscribe to an MVPD.

In urban markets, 53% of TV content viewers 18+ currently own (47%) or intend to get an antenna compared to 41% in suburban markets and 38% in rural markets. Further, three-quarters (74%) of antenna users who live in urban areas report favourable ratings for their overall antenna experience, whereas satisfaction drops to 61% among users in rural areas of the country.

With Next Gen TV (ATSC 3.0) bringing more advanced features into the OTA space, Horowitz expects growth in OTA to continue. The study found 5% of TV content viewers 18+ in the Horowitz survey report say they are already planning to get an antenna in the next year and another 9% say they were “very likely” to get one after being presented with a description that details both traditional and advanced features like local broadcast stations, small, thin indoor/outdoor design and HD and DVR capabilities.

The survey data indicated that the growth and impact of OTA and its place in the mix of MVPD and streaming delivered content and the concomitant adoption of Next Gen TV is in future likely to differ by geography in parallel with the differential rise of cable TV in rural, suburban and urban markets.

“We have long known that one of the biggest drivers for keeping traditional cable and satellite TV service has been to stay connected with live and local TV content, such as local news and sports events,” noted Stephanie Wong, director of insights and strategy at Horowitz commenting on the State of OTA 2020 study.

“With the ever-growing mix of both on demand and linear streaming services, antennas can feed the need for this live and local TV content at minimal cost. In markets where the major broadcast networks can all be received–primarily urban—traditional operators need to pay close attention to the growth and impact of antennas, especially as new features rolling out with Next Gen TV turn antennas from a thing of the past to the newest TV technology.”