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GfK-Broadcast-Only-TV-Homes-2009-2013-June2013A recent cross-platform report from Nielsen indicated that the number of broadcast-only TV homes is rising, albeit relatively slowly. The data from that report suggested that cable is losing subscribers, but more so to satellite than to the internet, with that trend supported by recent data from Leichtman Research Group. Nevertheless, the Leichtman report showed a net loss in pay-TV subscribers in Q1, and new figures from GfK indeed show that broadcast-only TV homes are on the rise.

In its newest study, GfK’s Media and Entertainment team reveals that this year, 19.3% of TV homes have broadcast-only reception. Although that’s not a huge increase from last year, it’s still higher than 2012’s 17.8% of TV homes reporting broadcast-only reception. Moreover, it’s a larger increase when pitted against levels from 2009 through 2011, which hovered at 14-15%.

The study suggests that cord-cutting is a factor in the rising rates of broadcast-only homes, but not a dominant one: only about 1 in 3 broadcast-only households cancelled pay-TV service at their household. More importantly, when asked why they cut the cord, more than 60% said it was to contain costs. Far fewer said it was due to the availability of online options. That aligns with recent research from pivot, which suggested that cost is the prime motivator for cost-cutting behavior and intent among the younger demographic. With younger Americans watching less traditional TV with every passing quarter, their actions are worth keeping an eye on.

And much as with Nielsen’s profile of its “zero-TV households,” the GfK data shows that broadcast-only homes have an above-average incidence among young householders.

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