Study: Diverse content drives antenna use
February 18, 2022
As cord-cutters look for ways to stay connected to live and local programming, multicultural audiences are embracing over-the-air (OTA) antennas, according to Horowitz Research’s State of OTA 2021 study. Two in ten (21 per cent) Black and 33 per cent of Latinx and Asian cord-cutters (TV content viewers who do not subscribe to MVPD—cable or satellite—services), respectively, use an over-the-air antenna, which translates to 2.5 million Black, 5.7 million Latinx, and 2.3 million Asian adults using the technology to access free over-the-air live, linear content.
Among Black, Latinx, and Asian cord-cutters, having access to local broadcast channels is the main driver for getting an antenna, with eight in 10 consumers across these groups citing this as a reason to have one and almost six in 10 consumers in each of these groups citing local broadcast as the main reason they have an antenna. Local news, specifically, is important to most Black (76 per cent), Latinx (68 per cent), and Asian (82 per cent) cord-cutters, and local and regional sports content is important to about 6 in 10 Black and Latinx cord-cutters.
Access to free, over-the-air culturally-relevant content is also important to Black, Latinx, and Asian audiences. Almost six in 10 (58 per cent) Black antenna users say that having channels geared towards Black audiences is important to them, and 35 per cent of Black antenna users say that they typically watch Black-geared content through their antenna.
The data are similar among Latinx antenna users: about six in 10 bilingual and Spanish-dominant Latinx say that having content in Spanish and/or for Latinx audiences is important to them, and among bilingual and Spanish-dominant Latinx antenna users, viewership of Spanish-language content from a variety of broadcasters, especially Univision and Telemundo, remains high, with about three in four Spanish-dominant and two in three bilingual Latinx antenna users watching content from those two broadcasters through their antennas on at least a weekly basis. The study also documented high importance for channels geared towards Asian audiences.
Cord-cutters are not the only ones leveraging antennas. The study finds that 10 per cent of MVPD subscribers use an antenna. For MVPD subscribers, antennas serve three key purposes: as a backup in case of a cable/satellite outage (63 per cent), to avoid having to pay for a cable/satellite box (47 per cent), and for TV sets without an MVPD subscription (43 per cent). In fact, OTA viewers frequently combine their antenna usage with their MVPD and/or streaming services. Antenna users with no MVPD service spend about six in every 10 hours—57 per cent of their viewing time—watching through their antenna and almost four in 10 hours—37 per cent—streaming. Even for those with MVPD services, antenna usage consumes about two in every 1o hours (18 per cent of time spent), as illustrated in the chart below.
In the survey, almost four in 10 (38 per cent) of Black, 32 per cent of Latinx, and 30 per cent of Asian TV content viewers without an antenna say they would be very likely to get one in the near future. As more consumers decide to cut the cord, the study finds that new features of Next Gen TV (ATSC 3.0), such as stronger reception, enhanced video quality, on-demand content, Dolby sound, personalised advertising, and others, could draw more consumers to adopt antennas.
“The findings from this study underscore the continued value of free, local broadcast content to American TV content viewers, and in particular, to Black, Latinx, and Asian audiences,” notes Adriana Waterston, Chief Revenue Officer and Insights & Strategy Lead for Horowitz. “New ATSC 3.0 technologies that will deliver OTA content with interactive, on-demand, and mobile capabilities could be another game-changer, helping ease some of the consumer pain points of the streaming ecosystem such as continued cost increases for subscription streaming services.”