Return of Rabbit Ears? Over-the-Air Antennae Makes Comeback

When the federal government in 2009 mandated broadcast television switch from analog transmission to digital, conventional wisdom assumed the end of over-the-air TV signals.

New data from Nielsen would argue otherwise.

Nearly a decade after the switch, there are 16 million households employing a digital antennae. That’s up 50% from 5 million homes in 2010.

“And as an increasing number of consumers consider a more à-la-carte approach to their TV sources, there is opportunity for [OTA] to continue growing,” Nielsen wrote in a Feb. 13 blog post.

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While 41% of OTA homes do not use an over-the-top video service such as Netflix, the majority do. Indeed, 8% (1.3 million) of OTA households subscribe to online TV services such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV.

Nielsen found TV consumption highest among households without streaming video — a whopping 4.5 hours daily!

This market segment also spent 16 minutes daily watching DVD/Blu-ray Disc content; 15 minutes on “other” TV; 13 minutes on an Internet-connected device; and six minutes playing video games or consuming cable TV.

Notably, consumption of packaged media (DVD/Blu-ray Disc) content fell to seven minutes daily among OTA homes with SVOD and three minutes among homes with both SVOD and online TV.

Nielsen attributed higher fragmentation for TV consumption driven by Internet-connected device usage – despite the fact SVOD homes with and without a online TV still consume more than 60 minutes of broadcast TV daily. Cable TV consumption increased with online TV access, but still lagged behind broadcast viewing.

“Regardless of OTA home type, broadcast TV [remains] a daily go-to source for content on the TV screen,” wrote Nielsen.

 

One thought on “Return of Rabbit Ears? Over-the-Air Antennae Makes Comeback”

  1. FYI– Rabbit ear antennas went away with analog TV. Before digital TV most of the established TV stations operated on the VHF band (channels 2-13) which required a longer antenna. With the move to HDTV many of those established stations moved to the higher frequency UHF band (channels 14 and up) which work with shorter antennas. New TV technology allows viewers to dial up the old channel number and be forwarded to the new broadcast channel.

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