More and more people are watching shows and movies on the Internet, sometimes via cellphone connections. Last month, the Nielsen Co. started labeling people in this group “Zero TV” households. There are 5 million of these residences in the U.S., up from 2 million in 2007. Winning back the Zero TV crowd will be one of the many issues broadcasters discuss at their national meeting. The Zero TV segment is increasingly important, because the number of people signing up for traditional TV service has slowed to a standstill in the U.S. The TV industry has a host of buzz words to describe these non-traditionalist viewers. There are “cord-cutters,” who stop paying for TV completely, and make do with online video and sometimes an antenna. There are “cord-shavers,” who reduce the number of channels they subscribe to, or the number of rooms pay TV is in, to save money. Then there are the “cord-nevers,” young people who move out on their own and never set up a landline phone connection or a TV subscription. They usually make do with a broadband Internet connection, a computer, a cellphone and possibly a TV set that is not hooked up the traditional way.
Cord-nevers are a different breed in the Zero TV crowd.