Antenna-only homes have doubled since 2013, Parks says

12% of pay-TV subscribers downgraded their service, twice as many as the 6% who upgraded services.

The percentage of U.S. homes that get their live TV channels exclusively through over-the-air antennas has proliferated like, well, rabbit ears. 

According to Parks & Associates, that percentage has nearly doubled since 2013, reaching 15% of homes in 2016.

“Pay-TV subscriptions have dropped each year since 2014, falling to 81% of U.S. broadband households in Q3 2016,” said Brett Sappington, senior director of research for Parks Associates and author of the research company’s 360 View: Entertainment Services in U.S. Broadband Household report (reg. req.).

“Several factors have played a part in this decline, including growth in the OTT video market, increasing costs for pay-TV services and consumer awareness of available online alternatives,” Sappington added. 

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According to the report, 63% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to at least one OTT service, with 31% using multiple OTT services. 

Meanwhile, Parks said that in 2016, 12% of pay-TV subscribers downgraded their service, twice as many as the 6% who upgraded services. Only 2% of adults who had never subscribed to pay-TV adopted the service last year, down from 5% in 2015.

“Pay-TV providers are adapting to address a fundamentally different video services market than existed three years ago,” Sappington added. “Challenges still remain for consumers in aggregating and discovering their favorite content and being able to watch on their preferred screen. Live broadcasts of high-profile events remain a challenge for online delivery, though pay TV and broadcast TV conquered live distribution long ago. These challenges represent areas in which pay-TV providers, or new entrants, can still win consumer attention, viewership, and revenue.”