In 2016, a year that included the Olympic games and an extremely dramatic presidential election, Americans abandoned pay television at record speed. So far this year, 22.2 million people have ‘cut the cord’. This is an increase of 33% compared to 2016’s numbers. The number of ‘cord-nevers’, people who have never paid for television, has increased nearly 6%. In 2017, Americans, who are notorious for watching a lot of TV, will be averaging less than 4 hours a day.
We discussed these numbers internally to see if they reflected our experience: while more than a few team members still have cable, most of us are far too busy to watch more than 4 hours of television a day – and when we are up for a binge-watching session, we’re more likely to turn to Netflix, Hulu, or other streaming services. 75% of surveyed team members who have not yet cut the cord are seriously considering doing so.
Price, Easily Available Alternatives Top List of Reasons to Cut the Cord
According to this article in The Street, price is the top reason people choose to cut the cord. The average pay TV subscription costs more than $100 a month now, and many families simply can’t afford it. Another reason cord-cutting is attractive is the ease of accessing video content via other streaming services, such as Netflix or YouTube. Many survey respondents said they simply don’t watch enough TV to justify the expense; consider that Netflix is $10 a month, compared to cable’s $100+, and the cord-cutter’s case makes itself.
Considering Cord-Cutting from a Business Perspective
When we talk about marketing budgets, ROI always matters. Changing television viewing habits and advertising opportunities on alternative platforms – especially YouTube – need to be discussed. The first part of the conversation must center on what your actual customers TV watching behaviors are. Are they cord-cutters, or are they watching hours of programming every single day? This is a question you can ask via social media, on your website, through an e-mail survey, or in person. Local TV affiliates will happily provide you with their own viewership statistics, but the information you gather directly from your customers will be more relevant.
Television advertising has always been cost-prohibitive for many smaller businesses. This may change as viewership continues to diminish: if your customers are still watching, this is a potential cost savings to take advantage of. On the other hand, if you know you’re serving dedicated cord-cutters, exploring advertising on YouTube and on other streaming services is a good idea – or you may want to consider what the futurists at MediaPost say the future holds: the disappearance of advertiser supported media. This may very well be what is happening, leaving business owners with a need to find alternative routes to connect with their customers.