Survey: OTA TV Antennas Gaining In Use, Awareness
As the rollout of the country’s newest over-the-air broadcast TV platform continues to gain momentum, more and more U.S. TV watchers are re-kindling their interest in added antennas.
A recently released survey from Horowitz Research, reveals that as broadcasters around the country begin to throw the switch on the NextGenTV (ATSC 3.0) platform, consumer awareness of the features, benefits and need to add OTA reception equipment to view these new stations is accelerating.
The television market research firm said antenna penetration across the United States grew 38% from a year ago to 40% of all viewers age 18 and older, according to the report.
Horowitz said that two in five adult viewers of TV content now use some form of antenna, up from 29% year over year. Based on Nielsen estimates of 121 million TV households in the 2020-2021 TV season, that represents approximately 48.4 million households with an antenna, the survey found.
The research firm said the survey data points toward strong potential growth as adoption of the NextGenTV (ATSC 3.0) platfrom continues to rollout.
Breaking the numbers down by demographics, large increases in antenna penetration were found among among Black households (39% up from 27% a year ago), White, non-Hispanic households (43%, up from 25%), and among 18-34 year-olds (42% up from 20% YoY).
Some 5% of adult viewers surveyed said they are planning to get an antenna in the next year, while another 9% indicated they were “very likely” to get one after hearing details about new advanced antenna features including small, thin indoor/outdoor designs.
The survey also found that most viewers of OTA broacasts also watch other sources of content, and frequently combine programs received over antennas with stations carried via multichannel video program distrubitors (MVPDs) — cable, satellite etc. — and streaming services. Some 82% of antenna users are also streamers and 59% also subscribe to an MVPD.
Antenna users surveyed indicated they spend an average of 6.4 hours a day watching TV and spend a third of their viewing time watching programs received over the air.
The State of OTA survey data also shows 53% of OTA viewers in urban markets, 53% of TV viewers currently own 47% or intend to get an antenna compared to 41% in suburban markets and 38% in rural markets. Further, three-quarters (74%) of antenna users who live in urban areas report favorable ratings for their overall antenna experience, whereas satisfaction drops to 61% among users in rural areas of the country.
“We have long known that one of the biggest drivers for keeping traditional cable and satellite TV service has been to stay connected with live and local TV content, such as local news and sports events. With the ever-growing mix of both on demand and linear streaming services, antennas can feed the need for this live and local TV content at minimal cost,” said Stephanie Wong, director of insights and strategy at Horowitz.”In markets where the major broadcast networks can all be received–primarily urban—traditional operators need to pay close attention to the growth and impact of antennas, especially as new features rolling out with Next Gen TV turn antennas from a thing of the past to the newest TV technology.”
The State of OTA 2020 report was conducted in September-October 2020 in English and Spanish among 1,600 TV content viewers (816 among antenna owners). The full report is available at