In an age of constant connection – through streaming, smartphones, the Internet and tablets – the ability to watch the shows we want, when we want, is literally at our fingertips. So in this age of endless possibilities, have we cut the cord on traditional television?
Could be. More than five million homes in the US have given up expensive cable and ugly satellite dishes in favor of Internet viewing, according to a recent announcement by ratings giant, Nielsen. The company, which dubbed these viewers “Zero TV” households because they don’t fit the pattern of traditional TV households, is hoping to track them for its rating report.
Zero viewers are still an important audience to Nielsen and advertisers. The young adults, who are most likely to live in this Zero-TV world, keep up with Game of Thrones and worry about Don Draper in the new – and darker – season of Mad Men. They’re still watching their favorite TV shows, but in new ways, thanks to a changing industry.
Netflix, for example, recently released two shows available exclusively on its streaming website, allowing viewers to watch on demand all the series’ episodes for a fee.
Making money in the Zero-TV age is a hot topic, particularly with traditional broadcasters, who are the loser in this equation. “But that’s life,” as Joan Harris said on season three of Mad Men. “One minute you’re on top of the world; the next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawnmower.” Broadcasters may lose, but TV still rules.