No Thanks, I’ll Just Watch PC
There used to be a set of people who called themselves, “The 1%’ers,” since there was a (misleading) statistic that 1% of homes did not have a TV. People were proud to avoid watching network TV, let alone cable or such. I grew up with TV, but the first time I got cable was pretty late in college, and I didn’t have anything other than two scratchy channels for the first few years of my adult life. Only after “free” cable in one apartment did I finally succumb. So I wonder if I’d be closer to this if I was just hitting the real world these days…?
Some people have had it with TV. They’ve had enough of the 100-plus channel universe. They don’t like timing their lives around network show schedules. They’re tired of $100-plus monthly bills.
A growing number of them have stopped paying for cable and satellite TV service, and don’t even use an antenna to get free signals over the air.
These 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, because they fall outside the traditional definition of a TV home.
I like the Zero TV definition, though most of those people probably still have a TV. I thought the statistic lower in the article was interesting:
Last year, the cable, satellite and telecoms providers added just 46,000 video customers collectively, according to research firm SNL Kagan.
That is tiny when compared to the 974,000 new households created last year. While it’s still 100.4 million homes, or 84.7 per cent of all households, it’s down from the peak of 87.3 per cent in early 2010.
So the rise of the Internet is starting to claim yet another old technology. It’s truly interesting to me that the growth of online is drawing traditional television viewers. When we first started seeing the Internet affect TV in the late ’90’s, it was because people surfed while watching video, and the trend was to drive more traffic to the content via the Internet. Now, it’s that the Internet is leading the content, though it constitutes a dumbing-down of the model… it’s back to one screen, with even less content capable on the smaller screen. So we’ve driven the world to high-def, and then driven it to less size… where do we go now?
I would expect that we’ll see content change again to start to reflect this trend, with less focus on video quality and more on additional in-show content that can be shared with a “smart TV” appliance. Me, I’ll probably still be watching the big screen while I otherwise surf, but you never know…