Fifth of US broadband households use digital antenna to access live TV
Joseph O'Halloran
| 17 March 2018

With digital services, the antenna has been considered a thing of the past but research from Parks Associates has revealed that the percentage of US broadband households that use digital antennas in their home has increased to reach 20% near the end of 2017.

This, says the 360 View: Access and Entertainment Services in US Broadband Households report, represents a four percentage point rise from early 2015 and, noted Parks, coincides with a steady decline in pay-TV subscriptions and an increase in over-the-top (OTT) video subscriptions.
Parks Associates found that that high cost and low price/value perception dominate reasons for service cancellation and bundle shaving. Moreover, more than half of the households that have switched, shaved, or cut the cord agreed with the statement that their service was "not worth the cost."

Almost two-thirds of subscribers who cannot currently restart programmes from the beginning found that feature to be appealing while just over a sixth 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.

Parks also found that average fees for standalone broadband have increased nearly 25% since 2010 and that a fifth of Wi-Fi households experience problems with coverage in their home.

"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," observed Parks Associates senior director of research Brett Sappington, author of the 360 View: Access and Entertainment Services in US Broadband Households report.

"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. Pay-TV providers need to address this value perception gap and re-establish their role as the consumers' source for interesting content. 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."