Advanced Television

Study: US OTA antenna adoption grows among young

December 9, 2022

Findings from Horowitz Research’s latest State of OTA 2022 report, which tracks the evolving market for over-the-air (OTA) antennas, wireless 5G home Internet services, and other disruptive technologies, reveal some notable changes in digital antenna penetration in 2022.

The study looks at the role digital antennas play in keeping consumers connected to live, linear broadcast content as Americans continue to shed traditional cable or satellite (MVPD) services.

In 2022, almost two in ten (18 per cent) TV content viewers report having a digital antenna, consistent with 2021, though lower than penetration during Covid, during which antenna adoption and usage spiked. The study finds that digital antenna ownership has grown among younger viewers from 14 per cent in 2021 to 23 per cent in 2022. In fact, younger viewers now over-index on digital antenna usage compared to their older (50+ year-old) counterparts (23 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively). The study also finds that Latinx viewers over-index on digital antenna ownership compared to all other segments (25 per cent, compared to 18 per cent among white non-Latinx and Black viewers, and 19 per cent among Asian TV content viewers).

The study finds that digital antennas have priority placement in the home, perhaps filling in the space once occupied by cable/satellite set-top boxes in homes that have shed traditional pay-TV service. Two in three digital antenna owners (67 per cent) have an antenna on the TV that is used the most in the home, a number that rises to almost eight in 10 among digital antenna owners who do not have MVPD service (78 per cent).

Furthermore, the study shows that those with antennas are using it. Self-reported time spent with content delivered through a digital antenna accounts for about one in every four viewing hours among antenna owners overall, growing to over four in 10 hours of viewing time spent among antenna owners without MVPD service (42 per cent). Streaming accounts for a little over half of their viewing time spent.

According to the digital antenna owners surveyed, being able to get live access to local broadcast channels is the main reason for getting an antenna, followed by being able to access local news. Notably, hyper-local content is also critical to antenna owners, with 58 per cent saying they are interested in hyper-local news and information from their specific community. Indeed, interest in hyper-local content is on par with interest in national and regional news.

The study also points to some challenges and opportunities in the digital antenna/OTA space.  The majority (62 per cent) of owners are satisfied with their digital antennas, but reliability and the number of channels available are frustration points for some consumers. And, given the desire to remain connected to live, local and hyper-local content, there is a missed opportunity to better market the technology to non-adopters.

Over half (54 per cent) of non-antenna owners say they know only a little about digital antennas. When presented with a description of the technology and its benefits, almost in in every 10 non-antenna owners say they would be interested in getting a digital antenna. Overall, the study finds that 13 per cent of TV content viewers are either planning to get a digital antenna or would be very likely to adopt an antenna in the near future based on the description provided in the survey.

“There is still a healthy market for the live, linear local and hyper-local broadcast news and information that digital antennas can deliver for free to consumers,” notes Adriana Waterston, Chief Revenue Officer and Insights & Strategy Lead for Horowitz Research. “But consumer education is critical to drive awareness, continued adoption, and viewership. There are many consumers who would benefit from having a digital antenna but don’t know it’s an option for them. It’s an option for them. It’s in the best interest of broadcasters to make a concerted effort to change that.”

Categories: 5G, Articles, Broadcast, Consumer Behaviour, DTT/DSO, Equipment, Pay TV, Research

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