Nielsen Sees New Types of Over-the-Air Homes

Even as the number of over-the-air TV homes grows, what’s being watched and how it’s being watched is changing.

According to a new Local Watch Report from Nielsen, there were 16 million homes it classifies as getting its TV over the air, rather than from a traditional cable, satellite or telco pay-TV provider. That’s up 48% over the past eight years.

But Nielsen says what’s going on in those over-the-air homes is changing. Nielsen breaks down those home into those with no subscription VOD services, or “No VOD” and those with SVOD, or “Plus SVOD.” 

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A new sub-segment of the Plus SVOD group is emerging, according to Nielsen, and those are the 1.3 million homes that as of May 2018 had a virtual MVPD like Sling TV, DirecTV Now or YouTube TV.

The share of over-the-air homes varied greatly from market to market. Among the markets with the most OTA homes were Milwaukee at 28.7%, Albuquerque with 25.1%, Phoenix with 24.9%, Dayton with 24.4%, Dallas with 23.1%, Minneapolis with 22.9, and St. Louis with 20.6%

The fewest OTA homes were in Boston and West Palm Beach at 4.9%, New York at 6.0%, Hartford at 6.2% and Washington, D.C. at 6.6%.

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According to Justin LaPorte, VP, local insights at Nielsen, “The ‘No SVOD’ homes tend to be older, more diverse and have a smaller median income, compared to the ‘Plus SVOD’ segment, which skews younger, more affluent and more device-connected.”

In the report, LaPorte adds that We see different media behavior with Plus SVOD homes consuming less traditional media and spending more time on personal devices. In an average day, the No SVOD homes have more viewing to broadcast stations, at almost five hours, than all of the TV usage combined in Plus SVOD homes.

Looking at the second quarter of 2018, Nielsen found that in the 6.6 million No SVOD homes, the median age is 55, the media income is $21,000 and 27% have kids. In the 9.4 million Plus SVOD homes, the median age is 36, the median income is $44,000 and 49% have kids.

Over the air homes spend four hours and 48 minutes per day with video, with 3:18 on traditional TV and 1:09 on connected TV devices. In the No SVOD homes, 6:03 is spent with video, with 5:13 on traditional TV and 35 minutes with TV-connected devices. In the Plus SVOD homes, 3:47 was spent with video, with 1:15 on traditional TV and 1:25 on TV-connected devices.

In all U.S. homes, 5:27 was spent with video in the second quarter of 2018, with 4:22 on traditional TV and 44 minutes on TV connected devices.

In each category viewers spent 12 minutes or less watching video on computers, smartphones, and tablets.

The top markets in the No SVOD category were Milwaukee, Oklahoma City and Houston. The top Plus SVOD markets (No VMVPDs) were Milwaukee, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. For the Plus SVOD with MVPD category, the top markets were Dayton, Austin and Norfolk.

“What the data tells us is that today’s OTA landscape is no longer characterized by our grandfather’s ‘rabbit ears,’” NIelsen’s LaPorte said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.