Over-the-air TV gets boost, but probably not from Netflix and Amazon
Availability of TV shows and movies online isn't a major factor in an increase in the number of U.S. households which watch over-the-air TV signals and do not subscribe to a traditional pay-TV service, according to new research from GfK Media & Entertainment.
"There is no denying that online or streaming video does play a role, and one that continues to creep up into the mainstream," David Tice, a senior vice president of Media and Entertainment at GfK, wrote on the research firm's blog. "But is it currently the primary driver of people moving back to broadcast-only reception? Our data still don't point to that conclusion."
Rather, it's the high cost of pay-TV services that is leading most of those who have given it up back to free broadcast TV, GfK found. According to the company's latest numbers, about 19.3 percent of TV households say they only receive over-the-air broadcasts. That's up from 17.8 percent a year earlier and from 14 percent in 2010.
Only about a third of those homes actually "cut the cord" from cable or satellite, and of those the majority said they did so for financial reasons.
Additionally, "few broadcast-only homes report Internet service connected to their TV sets," Tice wrote.
Still, the data point to a growing subset of the population willing to supplement a free broadcast TV service with lower-cost online video packages from companies such as Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL).