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Study: Broadcast-Only TV Households up 41% Since 2012; Younger Viewership Rises

13 Sep, 2017 By: Doug McPherson


NEW YORK – The number of broadcast-only TV households has risen 41 percent to 15.8 million during the past five years, according to a new study from Nielsen, commissioned by broadcaster Ion Media.

Among the findings:

  • Over-the-air broadcast TV is appealing to younger viewers, as broadcast-only homes have a higher percentage of young viewers (median age: 34.5) than total TV households (39.6). Nearly 40 percent of broadcast-only homes have children in the household, compared to 34 percent of total TV households.
  • Broadcast-only homes have more working head-of-householders than total TV homes, with 67 percent in the labor force, and broadcast-only homes have a higher composition of Hispanic, African-American, and Asian households, at 42 percent, compared to 30 percent of total TV households.

The study’s results coincide with the continuing uptick in cord cutting among pay-TV subscribers. SNL Kagan reports that in second-quarter 2017, linear pay-TV services lost 976,000 customers. The firm added that cable, satellite, and telco MVPD services have lost a combined 1.8 million users in 2017 so far.

Meanwhile, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix have continued to gain ground in households where pay-TV services are getting cut but broadband services remain. Recent figures from Parks Associates indicate that 49 percent of U.S. households with broadband subscribe to Netflix.

For Netflix, this is just another indicator of the service’s penetration in the U.S. market. Earlier this year, a study from the Leichtman Research Group found that 54 percent of adults report subscribing to Netflix versus 53 percent who said they have a DVR.


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