Online viewing to overtake terrestrial TV in US

NetFlixThe number of homes in the US that watch TVs that are solely reliant on an antenna for reception is set to be overtaken for the first time by households that use the internet for TV programming, according to new research.

The Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA’s) ‘The Market for US Household Television Services’ report claims that since 2005 there has been a “continuous decline” in the percentage of US TV households relying only on antennas for programming with the figure now at 6%, compared to 5% of web-reliant households.

“In 1986, more than half of American homes with a TV relied solely on free, over-the-air broadcasting. But our study reveals that just 6% of US TV households now watch TV programming exclusively through an over-the-air signal. This continues a nine-year, downward trend that shows antenna-only viewership remains at all-time lows and an upward trend of consumers watching video programming when and where they choose,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA.

According the research, viewership of video programming on connected devices continues to grow, with 46% watching video on a laptop or netbook in the last year, 43% on a smartphone and 35% on a tablet.

TVs were still the most popular with 97% household penetration and 93% video content viewership – though viewers were also turning to the other alternative video devices at home.

Overall, 45% of TV households consumed at least some television programming from the internet in the last year, a 17 point increase from the previous year at 28%.

“In the next year, we expect the number of US households relying exclusively on the Internet for TV programming to equal or surpass the total of those relying only on antennas. As consumers continue to turn to other devices and services for TV programming – devices that need wireless spectrum to deliver the content we want anytime, anywhere – it’s clear that the free, public spectrum given to broadcasters could be put to much better use,” said Shapiro.