Antenna use on the rise as pay TV slides

March 15, 2018
According to Parks Associates, the percentage of U.S. broadband households that use digital antennas in their home has steadily increased ...

According to Parks Associates, the percentage of U.S. broadband households that use digital antennas in their home has steadily increased to reach 20% near the end of 2017, up from 16% in early 2015. The research house says the increase coincides with a steady decline in pay TV subscriptions and an increase in over-the-top (OTT) video subscriptions.

"Increasingly, consumers are cobbling together their own bundles of content sources. Digital antennas are experiencing a resurgence as consumers consider over-the-air TV and OTT video services as alternatives to pay TV," said Brett Sappington, Parks' senior director of research. "The percentage of 'Never' households (households that have never subscribed to pay TV services) has held steady, and the percentage of households actually cutting the cord has increased between 2015 and 2017. Antennas are an affordable source for local channels to these households."

Parks believes that high cost and low price/value perception dominate reasons for service cancellation and bundle shaving. More than 50% of the households that have switched, shaved or cut the cord say the service is "not worth the cost."

"Pay TV providers need to address this value perception gap and re-establish their role as the consumers' source for interesting content," Sappington said. "Opportunities are available. Only 46% of pay TV subscribers are aware that they can access video-on-demand content from their operator, including free programming. Many indicate that they want to purchase online video services through their pay TV provider and to access the service through their channel guide."

Other findings indicate:

  • 63% of subscribers who cannot currently restart programs from the beginning find that feature to be appealing.
  • 17% of consumers who cancel their pay TV service would have stayed with their provider if there were no monthly fees for their set-top boxes.
  • Average fees for standalone broadband have increased nearly 25% since 2010.
  • 20% of WiFi households experience problems with coverage in their home.