CEA claims only 7% of Americans rely on over-the-air TV, draws criticism from NAB

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has raised the hackles of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) by issuing a report that said only 7 percent of U.S. TV households rely strictly on an antenna for their TV programming.

"The vast majority of Americans no longer rely on over-the-air TV signals," Gary Shapiro, longtime president and CEO of the CEA said in a press release. "Consumers have moved away in droves from traditional broadcast television thanks to a surge in programming alternatives available through wired and wireless broadband connections."

Shapiro then tossed a little salt in the broadcasters' wounds by crediting the U.S. Congress with being correct "when they authorized the FCC to hold voluntary broadcast spectrum incentive auctions to reallocate broadcast television spectrum to greater uses, like wireless broadband."

Those spectrum auctions, and the digital aftermath with which broadcasters now deal, have long been a sore spot for broadcasters who were clearly unhappy with the whole report and the inferences which flew off of it.

"CEA's findings strain the bounds of credulity, beginning with the fact that its alleged 'research' was conducted by CEA staff members rather than an independent firm," the NAB shot back in a statement attributed to NAB EVP of Communications Dennis Wharton.

NAB, Wharton said, was more inclined to believe a "recent independent study by Gfk" that determined 19.3 percent of homes rely exclusively on over-the-air television.

"We're confident that Gfk's research is far more credible than that of a trade association with a track record of anti-broadcasting bias," Wharton's comments continued.

The CEA study, "U.S. Household Television Usage Update," was completed last month. It polled 1,009 U.S. adults (as compared to 3,000 homes that participated in Gfk's study) and compared with a 2012 Nielsen study that found 9 percent of all U.S. TV households watch broadcast TV over-the-air only.

The survey also had something to say about potential cord cutters. While it showed that 83 percent of TV households get their TV through traditional pay TV services, that's five percentage points less than a survey conducted in 2010.

While hinting that this decline could come from connected devices, CEA also noted that 28 percent of TV households get programming on their TVs through the Internet and 4 percent use the Internet as the exclusive source of TV programming.

For more:
- CEA issued this press release
- and NAB answered with this press release

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