Nielsen: Zero-TV doesn’t mean zero video

Consumer insight firm Nielsen has identified a group that despite not viewing TV content via traditional methods are nevertheless consuming measurable amounts.

Nielsen notes that most people watch TV in their living rooms using traditional cable or satellite options, reporting that more than 95 per cent of Americans get their information and entertainment that way. But as the firm explored what the other five per cent are doing, it found some interesting consumer behaviours that it wants 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 five percent of US households, has bucked tradition by opting to get the information they need and want from non-traditional TV devices and services.

According to Nielsen’s Fourth-Quarter 2012 Cross-Platform Report, the US had more than five million Zero-TV households in 2013, up from just over 2 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 per cent 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.

According to Nielsen, 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 behaviour 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.

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