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 July’19, the national broadcast-only household penetration continued to rise, hitting 15.0%. This is the highest Broadcast Only penetration we’ve seen since Feb 2012. Wired-cable remained steady at 47.6% versus May’19 but was down -18% from July 2014. ADS at 25.8% also continued to decline. Penetration is down -22% since ADS’s peak of 33% in July 2014.

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 15.0%, 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 29.9%.

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

DMA Rank DMA Name July 2019 Broadcast-Only HH%
36 Milwaukee 29.9
47 Albuquerque-Santa Fe 27.2
12 Phoenix (Prescott) 26.7
15 Minneapolis-St. Paul 26.2
5 Dallas-Ft. Worth 26.0
32 Kansas City 24.8
31 San Antonio 24.5
7 Houston 24.2
45 Oklahoma City 23.9
30 Salt Lake City 23.0

Source: Nielsen July 2019

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. Birmingham and Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville now lead the pack in ADS penetration.

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

DMA Rank DMA Name July 2019 ADS (non-Cable) HH%
47 Albuquerque-Santa Fe 46.3
43 Birmingham (Ann and Tusc) 46.3
38 Greenvll-Spart-Ashevll-And 46.3
12 Phoenix (Prescott) 43.4
20 Sacramnto-Stkton-Modesto 43.0
45 Oklahoma City 41.5
27 Nashville 39.3
30 Salt Lake City 36.0
31 San Antonio 36.0
50 New Orleans 35.5

Source: Nielsen July 2019

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