Skip to main content

LPTV Coalition: OTA Audience Could Be More Like 100 Million

The LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition, formed
to advocate for LPTV rights in the upcoming spectrum incentive auction, has
told the chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee that the universe of
people who can still watch free, over-the-air TV is probably more like 81
million to 100 million, rather then the lower estimates based on over-the-air
(OTA) only households.

That came in a
letter to Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) on the even of a
subcommittee hearing on video regulation and the reauthorization of the
Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), which includes the
compulsory distant signal license and other issues related to MPVD carriage of
TV station signals.

That 81-100 million
figure is based on an estimate of the number of MVPD homes still with
over-the-air-receiving TV sets (50%), says the coalition, which based that
percentage on . Adding those MVPD households is why the figure is nearly double
the estimates of the National Association of Broadcasters, which estimates that
just under 20% of the 299 million U.S. residents (57
million) are in over-the-air-only households, says the coalition.

The coalition wants
the committee to think of that 100 million "potential" OTA audience
when it considers how to regulate the video marketplace.

"[W]e implore
the Subcommittee to view STELA reauthorization from a total marketplace view
point, rather than just one discrete law with no regard to the overall post
incentive spectrum auction marketplace. As many as 100 million of our viewers
and your constituents are counting on it."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.