Survey: Pay TV Cord-Cutting Population Rising

Pay TV Cord-Cutting Population Rising

Nearly 6 million more people are relying on over-the-air broadcast television than a year ago, according to new research from GfK Media & Entertainment.

The percentage of TV households currently OTA reliant has grown from 14% in 2010 to 19.3% in the current survey — a 38% increase in about four years, according to the study that was released this week. The National Association of Broadcasters emailed the report to members of the media Friday.

“Over-the-air households continue to grow, making up an increasingly sizable portion of television viewers,” David Tice, SVP of GfK Media & Entertainment, said in a statement. “Our research reveals that over-the-air broadcasting remains an important distribution platform of TV programming; this year’s results confirm the statistically significant growth in the number of broadcast-only TV households in the U.S., which we identified in 2012.”

The survey doesn’t account for over-the-top services, like Netflix and Hulu Plus, which cost about $8 per month per service, plus the cost of a set-top box like a Roku or Apple TV. Cord-cutters supplement OTA television with those on-demand services.

The survey found that demographics of broadcast-only households continue to skew toward younger adults, minorities and lower-income families. Other statistics include:

  • 19.3% of all U.S. households with TVs rely solely on OTA signals — up from 17.8% from last year.
  • GfK estimates 22.4 million households representing 59.7 million consumers receive television exclusively through broadcast signals and aren’t subscribing to a Pay TV cable or satellite service.
  • Nearly 6% of TV households cut the cord in their current home at some point in the past, doing so to cut monthly costs from budgets and citing there isn’t enough value for the cost. Those responses were also the top answers in the 2012 survey.
  • Minorities make up 41% of broadcast-only homes.
  • 49% of Latino households that prefer speaking Spanish home have a Pay TV service — down from 67% in 2010.
  • 28% of TV households where the head of the house is 18-34 in age, exclusively watch TV via broadcast signals, up from 18% in 2010.
  • 19% of TV households where the head of the household is 35-49 relies on OTA signals; 17% in which the head of household is 50 years or older.
  • Two out of 10 younger OTA households have never purchased a pay TV service.
  • 30% of TV homes with an annual income less than $30,000 rely solely on OTA TV — up from 22% in 2010.
  • 11% of TV households with incomes of $75,000 or greater rely solely on OTA TV.

16 thoughts on “Survey: Pay TV Cord-Cutting Population Rising

  1. Fred

    It’s true. Cutting cable TV is a real thing. My wife and I are professionals. I work in the telecom/broadband industry. Our household income is over $200k. It’s not just lower income folks cutting the cable TV cord. The reality for many is that $100+ per month for cable TV is just not a good value for the content cable offers. Subscribe to Netflix, rent or buy shows from iTunes or other providers, and you will come out ahead paying less for content that you choose. We have two TiVos that receive over-the-air TV in stellar HD quality. We travel a lot. We stay in hotels with cable all over country. We see what we are “missing” on cable, and it’s not much. No regrets. It’s actually fun to turn your entertainment dollars toward bucking the system. We do pay for cable broadband though, which from a TV perspective supports our content streaming. Really though, we mostly watch/record broadcast (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and so on) content that’s all free over the air in HD. We can find most cable-content-type stuff alternatively from streaming sources. And, no, we do not engage in illegal streaming. Cutting the cord is scary at first, but once you do and you dial-in your streaming alternatives (if necessary), you find out that being cable free is not being content free.

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  3. William Hughes

    When Cable TV arrived in my home in 1980 I was like a kid on Christmas Morning. Oh Boy! 28 Channels! All Mine! Basic was $7.99 a month. “Premium” Channels were $6.99 each. There were three available, HBO, Showtime and The Movie Channel. Subscribe to the first two and the third was tossed in at no extra charge. That Friday I held a “Cable TV Party” with my friends. We had a reason to celebrate, a Childhood scourge was about to be ERADICATED. That evening Then-President Jimmy Carter had scheduled to address the nation. We tuned to NBC, waiting for David Brinkley to start the Address by saying “This is an NBC News Special Report” as soon as we heard those words we shouted “Three, Two, One, SWITCH! and immediately changed the channel to HBO, which was showing the James Bond Movie MOONRAKER. This was the END of “Nothing good on TV tonight”, or so we thought.

    Fast – Forward to today. To get all of the “Basic” Channels you got in 1980 you have to subscribe to the highest Tier, which in my community is $139.00 a Month! Yes, you get 10 times as many channels, many of which show the same programming, just different times for each channel. There are times you can see the same episode of the same series 10 -15 times a day on just as many channels. Also many “Specialty” Channels have changed to the point where thay no longer resemble what they originally broadcast. “Reality Shows” Have invaded nearly channel.

    Advertising has increased to insane levels. In the last 20 years the amount of commercials shown during a program has more than doubled. Some channels actually show more commercials than programming! The advertisers show no regard as to who is in front of the TV Set. I’ve seen ads for Various “Adult Products, such as Sex pills and Woman’s Hygiene Products aired at times when children are certainly watching, and even during children’s shows themselves. Even during the program you are not safe from advertising, as time and again a portion of your screen is obscured by some Logo, “Pop-Up”, Scroll or Banner, some of which are accompanied by sound effects. In 2007 I decided enough was enough. I decided it was no longer worth the value to pay for. I cancelled my subscription, and re allocated the money I saved to purchase my programming on Home Video, mostly DVDs. In the six and-a-half years since I “Cut the Cord I have amassed a library so huge that at the rate of four hours each evening it will take me over 20 years to watch them all. I don’t miss Cable TV at all.

  4. Burt Ward

    I was a charter subscriber to Dish Network. They sent me the box of gizmos and I installed it on my own. Of course you only had a single LNB back then. I had a basic package that was fine for a while. Things went sour with them when I subscribed to the NFL Sunday Ticket and the NFL strike hit. Dish stood firm on not giving any refunds. I dropped the service and went to Direct TV. They were already using a dual LNB setup and I still got it working. What I liked about DTV was they did not require a phone line to do the PPV. A friend had run up a huge cache of PPV fees and it finally tapped out around $150 in cached charges. He got a replacement receiver and by then Direct had figured out the glitch and it wouldn’t unlock until you had completed the transaction with the unit plugged into the phone. I rang up $100 in charges and then they downloaded a fix and it locked the unit until I plugged it in. So I decided to look at the options and I wound up back at Dish, which had gone to a dual LNB setup. I was going to do a smart card hack when a relative got caught, not from using his hacked card, but when the seller turned in his name. I did get away with a legal hack though. I had ordered two dishes and then I turned everything on that could be turned on. I ordered the maximum package you could buy. I installed the second setup at my lake cabin. I could go out and fish, hunt, 4-wheel and come home and watch anything. The hack was reducing my service on my home system to the minimum package. The movie channels all went away. So, when I returned to the cabin I noticed it was still the big package. I do admit I hide everything valuable in a hidey hole inside a wall. So I figured the new package instructions had not yet been received. But it usually only takes about an hour before the codes are received. I used that dish at the cabin for a whole year until an audit caught up with it. I returned for hunting season and set up the receiver from the hidey hole. i went out and caught some nice crappies and bought them back to filet. I turned the TV on and it was on HBO. It said, “Please call 800-xxx-xxxx to set up service on this channel.” The gig was up, I had been countermeasured. The rest of the basic service worked but that wasn’t fun.

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  9. John Caravella

    This is why I am NOT happy that the FCC is playing into the hands of the lobbists who are trying to force free OTA TV stations off the air or reduced quality and/or move to another channel and share the signal. I have great looking video from a $60 TV antenna, but the cell co’s have convinced Congress and future FCC puppet Wheeler to dump the free OTA Tv for wireless broadband that will cost even more than our crappy cable TV. This is a sin to let them dump OTA TV for expesive wireless broadband, but money talks and the general consumer will lose.

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  11. miles van nortwick

    cable and direct tv became extremely expensive. Picture quality of digital ota far surpasses cable and direct tv (compression issues). Very happy to no longer pay direct tv for inferior broadcasts.

    1. miles van nortwick

      I will encourage everyone I know to cut their cable bill and go to ota broadcasts because this web sight is corrupt. Bye-bye and I know how to receive ota signals and will pass my knowledge along unto others!

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