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Broadcasters Struggle To Tap Into The 'Zero TV' Crowd

Broadcasters will convene in Las Vegas this week to discuss how to win back the so-called "Zero TV Crowd:" a rapidly growing demographic of people who don't subscribe to cable or satellite TV services.

The Associated Press reported that this group largely opts for Internet streaming of TV shows and movies, either on their computers, or through mobile devices like their phones or tablets. Subscriptions to online sites like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon are climbing, eliminating the need for traditional viewing habits, which require the viewer to follow network schedules and sit through commercials. This is a big concern for broadcasters as their ad revenues fall at alarming rates. Here's the AP:

"While show creators and networks make money from this group's viewing habits through deals with online video providers and from advertising on their own websites and apps, broadcasters only get paid when they relay such programming in traditional ways. Unless broadcasters can adapt to modern platforms, their revenue from Zero TV viewers will be zero."

The Nielsen Company gets the credit for the "Zero TV" label, after introducing it in its 2012 Cross-Platform Report. According to the study, the U.S. went from about 2 million in 2007 to more than 5 million Zero TV households now.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote in February that Nielsen will begin tracking Internet usage along with traditional rating measures in order to keep up with this rising trend. Now broadcasters need a way to follow suit in order to reach the "Zero TV" crowd online.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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