“Zero TV” homes becoming a headache for broadcasters

It seems that some people really have had enough of traditional TV, the 100-plus array of channels and the $100 bill at the end of each month.

More and more families in the US are choosing not to gather around together to watch TV and many have even stopped paying for cable and satellite TV services altogether. The Nielsen Co, which calculates television ratings, has dubbed such households “Zero TV” households and today there are 5 million such residences in the US, up from 2 million in 2007.

The problem with such households is that broadcast TV won’t get any money from them until they learn to adapt to this changing environment. This is why many broadcasters are now working on getting live content broadcasts to tablets and even smartphones.

“Getting broadcast programming on all the gizmos and gadgets – like tablets, the backseats of cars and laptops – is hugely important,” says Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters.

Even those people who have decided to part ways with their cable or satellite providers still use their TVs to play video games or watch movies on home video. Roughly 67 percent of those who fit this classification still watch video content. Online video subscriptions from the likes of Netflix and Amazon allow this group to keep up to date with a range of different television series.

For the first time Nielsen, the TV ratings company is looking into the viewing habits of Zero TVers with a view to incorporating the results into the formula used to calculate ad rates. Instead of specific ratings, the company will track what people are watching and what platforms they are using. The first batch of data is expected to surface later this year.

According to the American firm, this group of viewers tend to be younger, single and without children, but Nielsen is keen to monitor them to see if their viewing habits change with age.

But why have these homes unplugged from traditional TV? Nielsen says 36 percent have done so because of cost and 31 percent due to lack of interest.

Whatever the reason it is trend that broadcast TV will have to overcome or adapt to if it is to gain revenue from this increasingly large group of consumers. To see how the broadcast industry is coping with this new demographic head down to MIPTV 2013 at the Palais des Festivals, April 8-11. Here at EAS we’ll provide you with all your accommodation needs including rooms in the best and most centrally located hotels, private apartments, and even the odd luxury yacht or two. In addition we’ll organise all your transportation needs, book nightly entertainment and reserve tables at the city’s best restaurants. Clink on this link for more information.