Antenna TV Viewers May Have Added Value

Growing TV antenna use? Maybe it’s just simple math, if you are keeping any sort of sports score. 

Horowitz Associates says 40% of antenna owners are 18-34 (versus 31% of total TV content viewers), and 59% are males, versus 49% of total TV content viewers.

It isn’t an either-or situation. Research says antenna owners spend 19% of their time watching on an antenna, 44% streaming and 32% through an MVPD -- watching live, DVR, or VOD. The remaining time is with DVDs.

Why have an antenna if you have an MVPD service?

Maybe those services are the super-cheap cable TV packages, with no TV station carriage. Horowitz says antenna usage is about filling in the gaps -- live, local and broadcast.

Traditional pay TV services now cost an average of $107 a month, according to the Leichtman Research Group.

Without an antenna, many would get no sports programming. (Surely, those 18-34 young male antenna owners, looking to save a few bucks, aren’t buying pricey regional sports networks!)



What about news programming? Are 18-34s watching local TV newscasts? Maybe if some TV stations are airing new packages from a younger-skewing Viceland or Cheddar.

So it comes down to balls and strikes, punts and passes, jams and crossover dribbles. For big games, I’m guessing large TV screens in bars and restaurants could be a bonus to young men seeking entertainment viewing.

The bigger question is size. What kind of growth is there in the digital antenna business?

Nielsen/Gfk estimates homes with digital antennas were 16.4 million in 2018 — up from 15.7 million in 2018. This year, Consumer Technology Association says 8.1 million over-the-air TV antennas will be delivered to retailers in the U.S.— 2% more than in 2017, and 8% higher than 2016.

So there is some growth, but not much. 

What does it all mean? That over-the-air TV viewing is still hanging around, but not with sharp gains, versus OTT platforms like Netflix and Hulu.

Does this mean anything to high-priced sports TV franchises on broadcast networks?

The good news: The lure of TV sports is stronger than any pay TV services losses for those willing to cut the cord — sports and all. Those consumers will need to keep playing ball.

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