The share of U.S. households watching television over the air is up by nearly 50% since early 2010 and has been accelerating in recent years, according to a report from Nielsen Holdings PLC.
Nielsen said there were 16 million over-the-air, or OTA, households in the U.S. — accessing TV without a traditional cable or satellite service — as of May 2018, up from 11 million in the second quarter of 2010. Of that total, 9.4 million, or 8% of U.S. homes, have at least one subscription video-on-demand service such as Netflix Inc. or Hulu LLC. These consumers, 60% of whom are white, tend to be younger and often have children. The median viewer age in this group is 36 and median household income is $44,500.
The other 6.6 million, or 6% of U.S households, do not have an SVOD package and may or may not have internet access at home. This group tends to be older, with a median age of 55, with smaller, more multicultural households and often without children. The group's median household income is $21,000.
Adults 18 and older in OTA households dedicated less time to watching video across TV and other devices than U.S. viewers overall, averaging 4 hours and 48 minutes of viewing per day versus 5 hours and 27 minutes for overall U.S. TV households. However, a further breakdown of the OTA data showed that adults in households with SVOD services watched less video than the U.S. average, at 3 hours and 47 minutes per day on average, divided nearly evenly between traditional and connected TV devices. OTA households without SVOD service watched more, at 6 hours, 3 minutes per day, with nearly all of that viewing on traditional TVs.
Overall, U.S. households are still watching most of their video, or 4 hours and 22 minutes per day, on traditional TVs. U.S. households overall also spend 44 minutes watching video through TV-connected devices, supplemented by 10 minutes or less per day on computers, smartphones and tablets.