Rabbit Ears Clipped; WWW Gets Nod

According to research from the Consumer Electronics Association, about 10% of pay-TV households are planning to cancel their cable, satellite or telco TV service this year, and turning to Internet sources of content, not over-the-air broadcasts. CEA research finds only eight percent of households with a television rely exclusively on antenna reception, equating to 9 million (out of 114 million households with TV) households in the U.S.

CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro said, "... 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..."

According to the CEA's survey, on the pay-TV front, about 76% of respondents said they were "unlikely" or "very unlikely" to cancel pay-TV service in the next 12 months.

Likelihood To Cancel Pay TV (Base: U.S. Adults With Cable, Satellite or Fiber to Home)

How Likely to Cancel

% of Base Respondents

Unlikely/Very Unlikely


Somewhat likely/Somewhat unlikely


Very likely/likely


Source: CEA research, May 2011

But National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton has a contrary viewpoint, reports Todd Spangler of MultiChannel News. Wharton says "...CEA has zero credibility when it comes to calculating over-the-air TV viewership. Knowledge Networks has stated that over-the-air exclusive homes are more than 14% and rising. We trust an unbiased research firm over a survey paid for by CEA..."

To receive television service, consumers have a myriad of choices, says the CEA Market Research Analysis Brief. The data finds 88% of households pay for their television service for at least one of their household's sets. The study finds that 53% of households subscribe to cable service, followed by satellite service (32%) and fiber (10%).

Television remains the most popular device for viewing content. CEA research finds nine in ten households view content on a television, followed by computers, car video entertainment, cell phones/smartphones, and MP3 players. Though viewing content on computers is growing, the television remains the central CE device for viewing television content, says the report.

Devices Used To Watch Video Content


% of Respondents Using





Car video entertainment system


Cell phone of smartphone


MP-3 player


Source: CEAresearch, May 2011

Looking at the sources available for viewing content, television programming from a service provider (80%) is the most popular, followed by movies on disc/tape. Four in ten households report they view content On Demand and DVR, as more cable service providers offer the service and equipment for allowing consumers to view content on their own schedules.

Cable, satellite and telco TV services remain the most popular source for video content, cited by 80% of respondents, followed by:

  • Blu-ray/DVD (72%),
  • Free video-on-demand (45%)
  • DVR (41%)
  • Paid VOD or pay-per-view (33%)
  • Online sources such as youtube (31%)
  • Free online TV shows and movies (27%)
  • Paid online services such as Netflix (22%)

For more information from the CES, and access to the PDF report, please visit here.

2 comments about "Rabbit Ears Clipped; WWW Gets Nod".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, June 6, 2011 at 8:49 p.m.

    The KN study touted by the broadcasters is hilarious. We know cable penetration is 60 percent and satellite is 31 percent, so we're expected to believe 15 percent of homes need antennas? That would mean 6 percent of homes have cable AND sateliite. Nonsense.

  2. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, June 6, 2011 at 10:48 p.m.

    This study is also nonsense - at least in the headlines.

    This 10% number said likely or very likely. Standard research protocol necessarily hedges that number considerably. And, by lumping both our only safe assumption is that a tiny number said "very" - like 2% or less.

    Also, this number needs to be compared with typical years - like from 1980 to 2000 - when it's possible 4-5% exact number might have said the same thing.

    All in all, a typical hype study used to hype an industry, but void of useful content.

    Wrote about these studies recently...

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