“Zero-TV” doesn’t mean zero video


NielsenIt’s true. Most people watch TV in their living rooms using traditional cable or satellite options. In fact, more than 95% of Americans get their information and entertainment that way. But as Nielsen explored what the other 5% are doing, they found some interesting consumer behaviors that we want to keep an eye on.

This small group of video enthusiasts is tuning out traditional TV—and the trend is growing. This “Zero-TV” group, which makes up less than 5% of U.S. households, has bucked tradition by opting to get the information they need and want from non-traditional TV devices and services, reports Nielsen.

According to the company’s Fourth-Quarter 2012 Cross-Platform Report, the U.S. had more than five million Zero-TV households in 2013, up from just over 3 million in 2007. These households don’t fit Nielsen’s traditional definition of a TV household, but they still view video content. The television itself isn’t obsolete, however, as more than 75 percent of these homes still have at least one TV set, which they use to watch DVDs, play games or surf the Net. When it comes to video content, a growing amount of these households are using other devices.


The average American spends more than 41 hours each week—nearly five-and-a-half hours daily—engaging with content across all screens. They spend most of that time (more than 34 hours) in front of a TV, and consumers spend three of those TV hours watching time-shifted content. Viewing behavior varies by ethnicity, however: the average African-American spends close to 55 hours, Hispanics just over 35 hours and Asian Americans spend more than 27 hours.



  1. Badly worded by Nielsen. How is “via the internet” different than the other three? Don’t computers, smartphones and tablets also get their video content “via the internet”?

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