A new study by the Consumer Electronics Association makes the case for incentive auctions for broadcast spectrum, finds just 8% of U.S. TV households rely on OTA.
CEA: Consumers Tuning Out Over-the-Air TV
New research from the Consumer Electronics Association finds consumers are relying less and less on over-the-air TV signals and few U.S. households have interest in canceling their pay-TV service.
In a phone survey (available here) of 1,256 adults conducted in December 2010, CEA found the number of homes that rely on over-the-air signals for TV programming plummeted last year to 8% of all U.S. households with TVs. Over-the-air TV viewing has been steadily declining since 2005, according to CEA’s research.
“Over-the-air TV was once the defining distribution platform,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA president-CEO. “But using huge swaths of wireless spectrum to deliver TV to homes no longer makes economic sense. Congress should pass legislation to allow for incentive auctions so free market dynamics can find the best purposes for underused broadcast spectrum, such as wireless broadband.”
The study also found that pay-TV providers face little threat of their customers canceling their service in favor of over-the-air broadcast TV and Internet video. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they were unlikely or very unlikely to cancel pay-TV service. By contrast, just 10% of households said they were likely or very likely to cancel pay-TV service.
“Contrary to the National Association of Broadcasters’ assertions, antenna sales are falling and cord-cutters are not shifting to over-the-air television, but rather to the Internet. The only cord being cut these days is the one to the antenna,” Shapiro said. “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.”
While the survey found consumers were unwilling to cancel pay-TV service, CEA said more and more are viewing Internet video from Hulu, Netflix and others on their TVs, which is still the dominant device to watch video content. Nevertheless, computers, car video devices and smartphones are increasingly being used to watch video content.
CEA recently found that 96%, or 114 million, of U.S. households own a TV. Therefore, there are just 9 million homes now exclusively watching over-the-air TV. By contrast, consumers are quickly adopting smartphones and alternative display devices such as tablet PCs, and wireless broadband data use is increasing. According to CEA’s 13th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study, the percentage of U.S. households owning a smartphone is projected to increase from 33% in 2010 to 45% in 2012.