Zappers, Casuals, and Loyals
Zappers,Casuals, and Loyals are terms introduced in Henry Jenkins' book Convergence Culture in order to define how, why, and what consumers watch.
Zappers are people who constantly switch channels. They will watch portions of shows, but rarely entire ones. According to Jenkins, "Zappers are like the folks at cocktail parties who are always looking over their shoulders to see if someone more interesting has just entered the room."
Loyals are people who harbor long-term commitments with shows; they watch entire series. They spend a lot of time discussing and engaging with the show outside of the time the show airs. Loyals are more likely to pursue information through other media platforms.
Casuals fall between Zappers and Loyals. They watch a show when they feel like it or if they have nothing better to do. Casuals are more likely to carry on conversations or be engaged in something else other than the program itself. They may watch an entire show, but if an activity can better engage their full attention, they may opt to stop watching the show.
Each term does not represent an absolute, but rather a framework within which one can understand better that 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 viewer habits, but are useful in understanding how and why people participate within our culture today.