03.07.2005 03:30 PM
FCC report suggests only 4.5 percent view over-the-air due to lack of funds

Fifty-nine percent of OTA households said “television is not a priority for them.” To view this figure enlarged, click here..
A new FCC survey finds that the percentage of U.S. households that do not subscribe to a pay media service due to a “lack of funds” is only 4.5 percent of total television households.

Though the number varies by community, the FCC estimated that the percentage of viewers subscribing to a pay service in most U.S. TV markets now exceeds 85 percent. The survey examined the TV viewing habits of the remaining 15 percent and the relevance of over-the-air viewing in their lives.

In one survey, the FCC said 59 percent of OTA households indicate that their reason for not subscribing is that “television is not a priority for them.” Similarly, a 1998 study found that, even for the very poor, the decision not to subscribe to cable was more often the result of preference than poverty.

As Congress considers a date certain to end the transition to digital television, the FCC’s Media Bureau issued the report last week exploring the current status of over-the-air (OTA) broadcast television viewers in the United States. The report seeks to provide analysis and to explore the range of potential options for assisting those OTA viewers when analog broadcast service is terminated.

While the report contains no specific recommendations, it describes in detail the consequences of various approaches to ending the transition and the potential trade-offs involved for consumers and industry alike. A PDF file of the report is available for downloading at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-257073A1.pdf.

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