Pay TV? You don’t need pay TV. Just ask Sinclair Broadcasting, which is taking part in a five-state “broadcast liberation tour” to remind consumers that they can access dozens of local broadcast TV channels via an advanced digital antenna in high-definition for free.
Sinclair is partnering with TVfreedom.org and Antennas Direct on the tour that includes Little Rock, Ark., Macon, Ga., Charleston, S.C., Asheville, N.C. and Baltimore.
The tour is part of an ongoing public awareness and educational outreach campaign that so far has been to more than 60 cities and given away more than $1 million in antennas.
And, it’s also a not-so-gentle push back at pay-TV providers that there are other ways to watch TV.
“We are proud to be working with Sinclair TV stations at each tour stop to provide TV antennas to so many people seeking to access their local news, lifeline weather coverage and the most popular entertainment programming on television for free,” said Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct. “Not only do the TV antennas deliver a high-quality picture, but it empowers consumers to access the most culturally-rich broadcast TV news and programming in America.”
More Americans actually are tuning into broadcast TV. A recent report from GfK found 17% of U.S. TV households now rely on broadcast-only reception via an antenna, up from 15% in 2015, most often in TV households earning under $30,000 per year and those with Hispanic residents.
Overall, GfK’s 2016 Ownership and Trend Report from The Home Technology Monitor found that 25% of TV households now are going without cable and satellite reception.
Increasingly, consumers are turning to broadband-delivered over-the-top content from sources like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and a raft of other providers with content that includes movies, scripted originals, documentaries and live sports.
SNL Kagan last week forecast that in the cable industry alone, broadband subscriptions would top 71 million by 2026, 1.6X the number of pay-TV subscribers it expects to see.
In the U.S., overall, the top 14 cable and telco operators provide broadband service to some 91.9 million customers, not including mobile broadband connections.
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