Nielsen’s decision to expand its ratings system was broadly dissected (including here) and now Nielsen has done everyone a favor and profiled the small portion (less than 5%) of US households that did not fit its traditional definition of a TV household, but will start being included in measured samples for the 2013-2014 season. Noting that the number of “zero-TV” households has more than doubled from 2007 to exceed 5 million, Nielsen reveals [download page] that three-quarters of the homes have at least 1 TV set, but two-thirds get their content on other devices.
The most common way these households view content through an alternative device is via the computer (37%), followed by on TV internet (16%), via smartphones (8%), and via tablets (6%). Almost half of these homes watch TV content through subscription services.
The study shows marked demographic differences between the traditional TV home and “zero-TV” homes. The latter tend to be much younger: 44.4% are younger than 35, more than double the proportion (18.1%) of traditional TV homes.
Looking at ethnicities, 10.1% of “zero-TV” homes are Asian, compared to 4.5% of traditional TV households. Hispanics and blacks, though, are less likely to belong to a “zero-TV” home than a traditional TV home.
Meanwhile, “zero-TV” homes are more likely to have no kids (80.9% vs. 66.7%), and more likely to feature people who live alone (41.2% vs. 26.2%). Cost (36%) and lack of interest (31%) are the main reasons these homes have spurned the traditional method of viewing TV, and less than 1 in 5 are considering subscribing to TV services.