• More People Watching Broadcast TV

    by  • July 10, 2013 • Broadcast Decency, Television • 5 Comments

    In order to undermine laws against indecency on the public airwaves, broadcast network executives love to claim that broadcast TV is no longer as “uniquely pervasive” as it once was. But such statements fail to reflect the growing numbers of people who ONLY watch over-the-air TV.

    As a recent report from the Media Post points out, in just the last year, more than 6 million Americans dropped their cable and satellite subscriptions and switched to watching TV only over-the-air. And the trend away from pay-TV is increasing; the rise in broadcast-only TV viewers is nearly 40% higher than four years ago.

    While minorities and lower-income families are the majority of those watching broadcast-only (presumably as a cost-saving measure), a growing number – currently, about 28% — are affluent young people, who simply have no desire to shell out over a thousand dollars a year for hundreds of channels they never watch.

    In the article, the senior vice-president of GfK Media (a media marketing and research firm) stated that “Over-the-air households continue to grow, making up an increasingly sizable portion of television viewers. Our research reveals that over-the-air broadcasting remains an important distribution platform of TV programming.”

    These facts are particularly relevant in the debate over broadcast indecency law. While network bosses argue that broadcasting isn’t a big deal, in fact it is a growing medium…and it remains uniquely ubiquitous and accessible, particularly to children.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    5 Responses to More People Watching Broadcast TV

    1. September 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      I dropped DishNet and now have an over the air antenna combined with a Roku. I love it. I can now get PBS’s Create channel that Dish refused to give me and claimed didn’t exist. I watch a lot of PBS over the air which is perfect for me and for children. I also get weather emergency alerts for MY area, unlike with Dish who would only give weather for a city 200 miles away.

      I pay less than $20. a month for Netflix and Hulu Plus for my Roku channels instead of the $100 a month to watch paid programming, shopping channels, gossip channels and scripted “reality” shows that teach children low moral values and bully behavior. Don’t believe me? Think about Dance Moms where an obese woman screams at little girls until they are in tears. And let’s not forget Toddlers and Tiaras, Gangland and the many backstabbing Survivor shows and their duplicate spinoffs.

    2. Tony Monroe
      August 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      I am dropping dish buying an antenna and telling my folks to do the same . Over the air is the way to go, along with netflix or hulu plus . over the air has better programming. Netflix has cartoons that my children can enjoy. When television went to digital I felt a disconnect from television. Knowing I can still get free tv is amazing. Honestly I hate most of whats on dish. My parents have Direct TV> They are unhappy as well.

    3. Bradley Laing
      July 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      Cultural pollution is real. Associating humor with topics like rape, child molestation, prostitution and sex trafficking means our society is getting increasingly sicker, and the most infected part of the population are the children who watch a lot of degrading television and play a lot of degrading video games and listen to a lot of degrading music.

      In the end, our whole society is degraded

      —-The most logical conclusion to be drawn from Bozell’s statement, above, is restrict television to ESPN sports coverage.

    4. Bradley Laing
      July 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm


      At the Cable Show, an industry fights cord-cutting with technology

      Cable companies are keen to show off why they still matter

      By Dave Zatzon June 13, 2013 05:08 pm “

    5. Bradley Laing
      July 10, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      Of course, cable is much more than video and the companies are hedging their bets. They’d probably like to remind us their industry provides nearly 60 percent of US broadband, to the tune of 51 million subscribers. Further, the cable operators and the content companies are often one in the same

      —Do advertisers think the audience is watching broadcast tv stations, or do advertisers think they are watching TV shows on the internet?

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