CEA, NAB Spar Over Antenna Households

ARLINGTON, VA.— American TV households are gradually doing away with the antenna, according to a study recently released by the Consumer Electronics Association, which found that seven percent of those households rely solely on antennas for TV reception.

The CEA said its “U.S. Household Television Usage Update” was consistent with its own 2010 research, which showed eight percent of TV households were OTA reliant. CEA said its research demonstrated a gradual decline in the in household use of antennas since 2005. The survey is comparable to a 2012 Nielsen study that showed nine percent of U.S. TV households rely on broadcast TV/ over-the-air, a decrease from 16 percent in 2003, but also slightly higher in 2012 vs. 2011.

CEA’s study showed that 83 percent of TV households receive programming through traditional pay-TV services (cable, satellite or fiber). However, there has been a five percent decline of households using those services since 2010. Non-TV consumer electronics devices are likely affecting pay-TV subscriptions, and according to The 15th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study, these mobile connected devices are seeing a significant increase in U.S. household penetration rates.

This decline may also be attributed to increasingly accessible Internet sourced television programming. Household ownership of Internet connected televisions and other devices opens up new possibilities for viewing programming, and the study found 28 percent of U.S. TV households receive programming on their TVs through the Internet. Four percent report using the Internet exclusively as their source of television programming.

The NAB disputed CEA’s latest report, noting that another recent survey with a larger sample, pegged the percentage much higher.

“CEA’s findings strain the bounds of credibility, beginning with the fact that its alleged ‘research’ was conducted by CEA staff members rather than an independent firm, said Dennis Wharton, NAB spokesman. “Contrast that with the recent independent study by GfK, a world-recognized consumer research firm that found that 19.3 percent of homes rely exclusively on over-the-air television. Moreover, CEA surveyed barely 1,000 people, compared to the more than 3,000 homes that participated in the GfK study. We’re confident that GfK’s research is far more credible than that of a trade association with a track record of anti-broadcasting bias.”