Parks: TV Antenna Use Expected to Skyrocket as COVID-19 Keeps People at Home

New consumer research from Parks Associates finds that 25% of U.S. broadband households use an antenna to watch local broadcast TV channels, up from 15% in 2018. The Dallas-based firm said that roughly one-half of antenna users do not subscribe to any pay-TV services, either traditional or online TV platforms. The survey, conducted in Q3 2019, found households that watch over-the air TV channels watch more video overall than average broadband households.

“Local news matters to most households [during a pandemic, and] local broadcast channels are the most preferred channel types,” Steve Nason, director of research, said in a statement. “These content preferences shape the access habits of consumers, so antenna usage is increasing as households look to meet these needs, and we will see these trends increase as more shelter-in-place orders take effect and households look for inexpensive content options to offset lost wages.”

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Parks found that 78% of U.S. broadband households watch live TV channels. As households look to cut expenses, their reliance on antennas for information and entertainment will likely increase.

Nason said 30% of domestic broadband households report owning a TV antenna, and Parks upward trends both in ownership and usage to continue, especially the coronavirus public health crisis keeps people at home.

“Penetration of broadcast TV and antennas [has] increased markedly,” he said.

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