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Definition

Zero-TV

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Zero-TV is Nielsen's category for homes that neither subscribe to cable or satellite television service nor use an antenna to boost signals for over the air (OTA) broadcasts. The ratings company created the category in early 2013 as part of the effort to track the trend towards cord cutting, in which users cancel traditional television services in favor of less expensive options such as Internet TV.

According to Nielsen’s Fourth-Quarter 2012 Cross-Platform Report, the number of Zero-TV homes in the United States grew from two million households in 2007 to over five million in 2012. Seventy-five percent of the five million Zero-TV households owned at least one television but only 18 percent of that portion expressed an interest in subscribing to traditional TV services. 

Sixty-seven percent of Zero-TV households watched content in a variety of ways:  

  • Through personal computers: 37%
  • Streamed to television: 16%
  • On smartphones: 8%
  • On tablets: 6%

Forty-eight percent of Zero-TV homes subscribe to television services, such as Netflix or Hulu. 

This was last updated in June 2013

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