Money & Business

Broadcasters’ Association Tackles ‘Zero-TV’ Trend

By / Apr 9, 2013 (Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock)

A recent report by Nielsen found that 5 million American households no longer watch traditional TV—a growing dilemma for the National Association of Broadcasters and one the association is set to address at its annual meeting this week.

As it kicks off its annual meeting in Las Vegas this week, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is addressing the issue of “cord cutters.”

A term referring to the population of people ditching traditional cable and satellite TV services—as well as over-the-air TV via an antenna—cord cutting is an escalating trend, challenging broadcasters to come up with new ways of meeting consumer demand or risk becoming obsolete.

According to a Nielsen Company study released last month, 5 million American households are no longer watching traditional TV, up from 2 million in 2007. Other studies have reported similar findings.

Cost and lack of interest were cited as the two main reasons for abandoning traditional TV viewing, according to the Nielsen study. The convenience of mobile devices also played a role. Sixty-seven percent of what Nielsen called “Zero TV” homes are watching content on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Unlike networks, which can make money from online video providers, broadcasters only receive money when they transmit programming in traditional one-to-everyone methods, the Associated Press reported. Broadcasting live TV signals to mobile devices is possible, and more than 130 TV stations in the United States are doing it, but the number of people who have the tools to receive those signals is relatively small.

“Getting broadcast programming on all the gizmos and gadgets—like tablets, the backseats of cars, and laptops—is hugely important,” Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for NAB, told the AP.

NAB’s annual meeting—the NAB Show—this week will feature a session on the business opportunity of mobile TV, which allows users to “tune in to live, local news, traffic information, weather, sporting events, and entertainment programs from the convenience of their car, at the beach—wherever they may be, using a variety of mobile and video devices,” according to NAB’s website.

The show will also feature new industry products and services that allow mobile devices to receive broadcast TV signals. And it will promote the importance of broadcast television in functions such as emergency notification.

“Broadcasters’ one-to-everyone transmission model is the most efficient means of delivering content,” NAB Executive Vice President Rick Kaplan said in a statement. “As Superstorm Sandy demonstrated, this is particularly true in times of emergency when all the spectrum in the world would still be unable to ensure reliability of wireless networks’ one-to-one method of delivery.”

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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