Zappers, casuals, and loyals

From Media Technology and Culture Change

Zappers, Casuals, and Loyals are terms introduced in Henry Jenkins' book Convergence Culture in order to define how, why, and what consumers watch. Each term does not represent an absolute, but rather a framework within which one can understand better the habits of media consumers, specifically with Television. For example, a Zapper may find a show they like and become a Loyal to that show. Or, a Casual viewer may become hooked on a program and become Loyal. Again, these terms are not definite characteristics of viewing habits, but are useful in understanding how and why people participate within our culture today.

Zappers

Media consumers with irregular and unreliable consumer habits. They switch frequently between TV channels, often in the middle of a program. Zappers are one of the most difficult groups for television advertisers to access and, therefore, they must use innovative techniques in order get their message across.

Casuals

Consumers who tend to return to certain for example TV shows, yet without definate regularity. Often, they do not plan to watch a certain show but just "end up" doing so. They are also more likely to engage in casual viewing where watching the television is only one of the multiple tasks they engage in at once.

Loyals

Reliable consumers who are committed to watching a particular TV show. Loyals watch less hours of television a week than the average viewer because they have chosen specific shows to which they are loyal. Loyals are the ones using their DVRs to record shows in case they happen to miss their screening time. They are more likely to engage in cross-media interaction related to the show than zappers or casuals. They are also more likely to pay attention to advertisements and to remember brands names, thus the television industries values loyals more than the members of the other two categories.