LPTV Coalition: OTA Audience Could Be More Like 100 Million

Tells Congress to Look Broadly at Marketplace When Reviewing STELA

The LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition, formed to advocate for LPTV rights in the upcoming spectrum incentive auction, has told the chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee that the universe of people who can still watch free, over-the-air TV is probably more like 81 million to 100 million, rather then the lower estimates based on over-the-air (OTA) only households.

That came in a letter to Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) on the even of a subcommittee hearing on video regulation and the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), which includes the compulsory distant signal license and other issues related to MPVD carriage of TV station signals.

That 81 million-100 million figure is based on an estimate of the number of MVPD homes still with over-the-air-receiving TV sets (50%), according to the coalition. Adding those MVPD households is why the figure is nearly double the estimates of the National Association of Broadcasters, which estimates that just under 20% of the 299 million U.S. residents (57 million) are in over-the-air-only households, according to the coalition.

The coalition wants the committee to think of that 100 million "potential" OTA audience when it considers how to regulate the video marketplace.

"[W]e implore the Subcommittee to view STELA reauthorization from a total marketplace view point, rather than just one discrete law with no regard to the overall post incentive spectrum auction marketplace. As many as 100 million of our viewers and your constituents are counting on it."