Over-The-Air Broadcast Television (OTA)

Over-The-Air Broadcast Television (OTA)

Over-the-air broadcast television was the very first way to obtain a television “signal” via an antenna. As cable and satellite delivery proliferated over the years, OTA took a back seat and was largely forgotten. Cable & satellite companies took advantage of consumers who wanted more choice, offering more channels and charging more and more money to access their TV platforms. In the last decade however, consumers have rediscovered OTA, which offers digital HDTV signal quality and an expanding choice of digital networks at zero cost aside from an investment in a digital HDTV antenna.

As a result of this OTA rediscovery, consumers have been opting to “cut the cord” in recent years, getting rid of their cable or satellite subscription in favor of a free OTA signal. In the last 12 years, the national penetration of OTA (broadcast only homes) increased +55% to +14.9% of all U.S. TV households. In fact, the penetration of OTA 14.9% (broadcast only homes) exceeded that of ADS 12.8%. This trend shows no signs of fading and has also taken hold in local markets in terms of market penetration and even contribution to local TV news viewing. OTA households skew A35-64, male, with children in larger-sized homes, and also Black/African American and Hispanic.

Wired Cable & Satellite Penetration in Decline
Source: Nielsen Feb 2000-2024
Source: Nielsen Feb 2024
LPM Local evening News Viewing
Source: Nielsen NLTV 25 LPM+PPM markets OTA impressions; Local broadcast (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, TEL, UNI) February: 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024.
Over-the-Air Home
2023 MRI-Simmons Fall Doublebase USA OTA (Over-The-Air) Antenna Household Own And Use A TV Antenna: Yes

Relevant information about the trend toward over-the-air broadcast TV and how it is impacting local news viewing:

For more information, please contact Hadassa Gerber, Chief Research Officer, TVB