Over-The Air TV Homes Now Number 16M, Up 50% Since 2000

Over the air (OTA) TV homes -- which may include households with a subscription digital over-the-top (OTT) service -- keep growing. They now represent 14% of all U.S. TV homes, according to Nielsen.

As of May 2018, Nielsen says there are 16 million OTA homes -- up nearly 50% over the last eight years.

In 2000, it was 11 million homes (9% of all U.S. TV homes).

Of those 16 million, 9.4 million are homes with at least one SVOD service (subscription-on-demand video). This group represents 8% of all U.S. TV homes, which Nielsen says are likely to be younger, with a median age of 36 years old.

The other 6.6 million homes have no SVOD services, but may have access to the internet. They skew older, with a median age of 55+.

Those OTA homes tend to watch much more traditional over-the-air programming -- just over five hours a day, when looking at data from May for viewers 18 years and older.

Those OTA homes with a SVOD service watch just under two hours a day vs. traditional over-the-air TV.

4 comments about "Over-The Air TV Homes Now Number 16M, Up 50% Since 2000".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 15, 2019 at 7:33 a.m.

    Good one, Wayne. I've been pointing out the growth of OTA homes for some time as a natural consequence of "cord cutting" While some assume that cord cutting is making millions of homes unavailable to advertisers this is true for a small percentage of those who cancel their cable subsceriptions. The others merely get OTA racaption, plus Netflix and other SVOD services. Inmage what the ratings for the broadcast TV networks and stations are like in OTA homes. If these account for 14% of all homes they probably generate 25% of the average minute audience for broadcast TV.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 15, 2019 at 9:32 a.m.

    I dug a little deeper into the Nielsen findings and it appears that a very small segment---over-the-air homes which do not subscribe to any SVOD service and accounts for a mere 6% of all adults ---represents about 25% of the average minute broadcast TV adult audience. We will be reporting on this in some depth in one of our upcoming Alert reports to "TV Dimensions 2019" subscribers. THis will include some very interesting projections we have made showing what percentage of the average minute adult audience for each TV platform comes from two kinds of OTA  homes ( with and without SVOD ) and non-OTA. The results are, to say the least, sobering.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 15, 2019 at 10:49 a.m.

    Correction on my previous comment. I was right the first time. The data indicates that OTA adults in aggregate, which are 14% of all adults, do about 25-26% of all broadcast TV viewing.

  4. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, January 15, 2019 at 1:06 p.m.

    It's not because of audiences really preferring ad-cluttered broadcast programs. It's primarily because home viewers now get all-or-nothing reception, thanks to uncompressed digital signals, so having an indoor antenna is no longer the hassle (and usually the added benefit of higher signal quality than compressed cable channels). The shows themselves are very rarely as good as those from the program suppliers who now win all the major awards that broadcast used to claim.

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