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The Nielsen Local Watch Report

The Evolving Over-the-Air Home

Media | 01-14-2019

As of May 2018, more than 14% of all TV households—or 16 million homes—have “over-the-air” (OTA) TV status, and that number is on the rise. As consumers look for more on-demand and cost-effective options, there has been a resurgence in this cable status segment. However, to really understand this trend you need to understand what OTA homes actually look like—who’s in them, and how they engage with media.

We’ve found that two prominent OTA segments are co-existing, with very different profiles and media habits. One type of OTA home has at least one SVOD service, while the other has no SVOD service. When we say SVOD, we are talking about the pay services, Netflix, Hulu (not Hulu Live), and Amazon Prime Video. The “No SVOD” homes tend to be older, more diverse and have a smaller median income, compared to the “Plus SVOD” segment, which skews younger, more affluent and more device-connected.

A Growing Trend

The number of OTA homes is growing, with more pronounced growth in recent years. The percent of homes without traditional cable (wired or satellite) has increased 48% over the past eight years, totaling 16 million homes as of May 2018.

Growth in U.S. OTA Homes

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