Antenna Usage Rising as More Turn to Free OTA Channels




outdoor antenna

outdoor antennaAbout a quarter of all US broadband households use an antenna to access over-the-air (OTA) content like local TV broadcasts, a jump from 15 percent in 2018. Beyond that, research group Parks Associates says around half of those households don’t subscribe to pay-TV services. And while these findings are the result of data collected in late 2019, the group expects the trend to continue with many staying home and looking to cut costs during the current pandemic.

Parks Associates conducted the study during the third quarter of 2019, aiming to gauge the demand for broadcast TV and how households consumed that media, including pay TV, OTA, and online. Among its findings, the group also reported that homes that watch OTA content tend to watch more video than the average household.

Overall, using an antenna to watch local TV still lags behind other activities reported in the study, such as using TVs for gaming or streaming content online, but the need for local news during the coronavirus outbreak could push those numbers higher.

We’ve seen streaming services like Hulu, Sling TV, and Amazon offer up more access to more news content during the past few weeks and Parks Associates expects interest in local news to rise as well.

“Local news matters to most households—local broadcast channels are the most preferred channel types, and news is the most preferred broadcast content,” Director of Research Steve Nason said in a press release. “These content preferences shape the access habits of consumers, so antenna usage is increasing as households look to meet these needs, and we will see these trends increase as more shelter-in-place orders take effect and households look for inexpensive content options to offset lost wages.”

Have you started watching more local news? If so, are you using an antenna to access that local content? Feel free to leave a comment below to let us know how your media consumption habits have evolved over the past few days and weeks.

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