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Survey: 60 Million Americans Rely on Broadcast TV

ELIZABETH, N.J. —Cord-cutting is the real deal, according to the folks at GfK, who publish The Home Technology Monitor. The number of U.S. TV households relying exclusively on over-the-air reception has grown for the second year in a row, David Tice, senior vice president of Media and Entertainment for GfK said in a blog post this week.

“We’re seeing 19.3 percent of TV homes reporting broadcast-only reception, compared with a level of 17.8 percent in 2012, and as low as 14 percent as recently as 2010,” he wrote. “Projected out, this means that in 2013, roughly around 22 million homes rely only on over-the-air broadcast rather than pay-TV service.”

The household figure translates into roughly 59.7 million people who rely on broadcast television. Cord-cutters skew minority, lower-income and younger, he said, and they were not necessarily migrating to online viewing:

“Few broadcast-only homes report Internet service connected to their TV set; when asked why they cancelled TV service, the overwhelming majority—over 60 percent—cited cost-cutting; far fewer mentioned cord-cutting because of online viewing options.”

Tice speculated that the proliferation of multicast channels and the quality of digital broadcasting may be a factor in cord-cutting as well. He said 3,100 households were interviewed for the survey, which is in its 33rd year.