Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sign of the Times: More folks watching TV for free

Rabbit ears are multiplying.  Hit with rising cable bills and a weak economy, more Americans, especially young adults and lower-income families, are catching their shows using classic antennas, The NY Post reports.

Nearly 18 percent of all US households with TVs are watching old-fashioned broadcasts delivered for free over the airwaves, up from 15 percent of homes last year, according to research firm GfK Media. That means 20.7 million homes, or roughly 54 million consumers, now get channels over the air instead of paying a monthly cable or satellite bill.

Despite all the talk about “cord cutting” and people watching shows online, this marks the first year since the recession that the firm has seen a notable uptick in broadcast-only viewers, as sustained unemployment takes a toll on household budgets.  From 2008 to 2010, 14 percent of the 114.7 million TV households were cable- and satellite-free. Last year, that figure ticked up by 1 percentage point. This year saw a 3 percentage-point gain.

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