U.S. has more than 5 million 'zero-TV' households, says Nielsen

There are more than 5 million zero-TV households in which consumers don't subscribe to a pay TV service and don't watch over-the-air television, Nielsen's Fourth Quarter 2012 Cross-Platform Report said, compared to just over 2 million Americans who took this route in 2007.

Of those household inhabitants, 44 percent are under the age of 35, and all present a new challenge for Nielsen as it tracks eyeballs and screens. These households continue to consume video, but, "a growing amount… are using other devices" than the TV, the summary continued.

Nielsen said this group comprises less than 5 percent of U.S. households that "don't fit Nielsen's traditional definition of a TV home," but added, "the television itself isn't obsolete," noting that the device is still used to "watch DVDs, play games or surf the Net."

But the TV also remains the primary vehicle for watching television and the primary device that Nielsen tracks to provide ratings information. The company, however, has had to expand its range to other devices as households moved to non-traditional TV devices and services.

"The average American spends more than 41 hours each week--nearly five-and-a-half hours daily--engaging with content across all screens," Nielsen's summary said.

Of the five percent of zero-TV homes, 67 percent get their content from other devices including computers (37 percent), via the Internet (16 percent), via smartphones (8 percent) and via tablets (6 percent), the report found.

Since 2008, consumer viewing habits have shifted away from watching live TV and DVDs towards more serious DVR playback, the Nielsen statistics showed. In the fourth quarter of 2008, consumers spent 4 hours and 44 minutes a day watching live TV, 14 minutes watching DVR playback, nine minutes playing games and 16 minutes with DVD playback. In fourth quarter 2012, consumers spent 4 hours and 39 minutes watching live TV, 25 minutes in DVR playback mode, 13 minutes playing games and 11 minutes with DVD playback.

For more:
- Nielsen offered this report summary

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