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Life After Television

“Broadcasters worry about 'Zero TV' homes,” Yahoo notes today, via this AP article:

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. There are 5 million of these residences in the U.S., up from 2 million in 2007.

Winning back the Zero TV crowd will be one of the many issues broadcasters discuss at their national meeting, called the NAB Show, taking place this week in Las Vegas.

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.

"Getting broadcast programing on all the gizmos and gadgets — like tablets, the backseats of cars, and laptops — is hugely important," says Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters.

Of course, there’s another reason why millions don’t like TV. Just don’t expect it to be addressed by the big three networks, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, AP or Yahoo anytime soon.

On the flipside, the Yahoo article also begs the question that Rob Long asks from time to time at Ricochet: Why do those who want to have their information as customized, individualized and as forward thinking as possible vote en masse for a guy offering 1945 smokestack-era "solutions" to healthcare and retirement?

* I purchased the plush Naugahyde chairs now in my den for a song in the spring of 2011. I bought them used from the giant Borders Bookstore in San Jose as it was shuttering its doors, during a period in which the computer was also rendering the idea of books published on dead tree increasingly anathema.

Update:  "Leaked memo: ESPN manager encourages employees working Brazilian X Games to lie on timesheets," the Daily Caller reports:

A high-ranking ESPN operations manager has urged staff at the upcoming Brazilian X Games to lie on their timesheets and underreport the number of hours they work, according to an emailed memo obtained by the sports blog Deadspin.

“Financially, things are extremely difficult,” the manager, Severn Sandt, said in the memo. “Please help me to keep your part of the budget in line.”

Wow. If ABC-Disney-owned ESPN is complaining of expense account padding, things really are tough, in sharp contradistinction to old media's glory days.

More: "As Emeril would say: BAM! The Canadians are doing it. 8% of the Canadian population are [cable TV] 'cord cutters.'"

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage based on a modified Shutterstock.com image.)