Broadcast-Only, Satellite and Wired-Cable Households

Broadcast-Only or Over-the-Air (OTA)
Homes that receive the broadcast signal via the use of a special antenna to pick up the digital signal broadcasted by the television station. Wired cable and/or satellite boxes are not used.

Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS)
A service whose signal is delivered directly to a viewer’s home via the use of a small, versatile satellite dish. The two main providers include DISH and DirecTV.

Households that receive their signal via a traditional cable box. These homes also include the telco providers, AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS.

National Trends
In May’20, the national broadcast-only household penetration continued to rise, hitting 15.4% while wired-cable decreased to 46.4%, and ADS dropped to 23.0%.

Click here to see the national Broadcast-Only, Wired-Cable and Total ADS household penetration figures.

Local Trends
While the national broadcast-only household percentage is currently at 15.4%, there are many local markets that exceed that average. In the top 50 DMAs, Milwaukee continues to lead the pack with a broadcast-only household penetration of 33.3%.

Top 10 Broadcast-Only Markets (DMAs 1-50)

DMA Rank DMA Name May 2020 Broadcast-Only HH%
35 Milwaukee 33.3
11 Phoenix (Prescott) 32.3
46 Albuquerque-Santa Fe 31.3 
5 Dallas-Ft. Worth 30.3 
8 Houston 29.6
43  Oklahoma City 29.0
31  San Antonio 28.5
15  Minneapolis-St. Paul 28.3
37 Cincinnati 26.9
30 Salt Lake City 24.5

Source: Nielsen May 2020

A significant number of television households may be missed by using local cable, as commercials may not be seen in some homes. ADS, or Alternate-Delivery Systems, are today primarily homes that receive their signal via satellite. While some can insert local cable ads on satellite systems, this may be only on certain networks, and only on the primary box in the home. Albuquerque-Santa Fe now lead the pack in ADS penetration.

Top 10 ADS (non-Cable) Markets (DMAs 1-50)

DMA Rank DMA Name May 2020 ADS (non-Cable) HH%
46 Albuquerque-Santa Fe 43.8
44 Birmingham (Ann and Tusc) 41.0
38 Greenvll-Spart-Ashevll-And 39.8 
20 Sacramnto-Stkton-Modesto 38.5 
43  Oklahoma City 38.0
11 Phoenix (Prescott) 37.6
28  Nashville 35.3
30  Salt Lake City 34.7
50  New Orleans 33.8 
39 Las Vegas 33.1

Source: Nielsen May 2020

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