The term cord cutting might conjure up the image of someone taking a pair of scissors to a power cord. But this increasingly common term is in reference to something a little less literal: the rising trend of giving up television cable subscriptions in favor of other entertainment viewing options. The recent proliferation of streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have provided a seemingly endless amount of content available on-demand, often at a cheaper cost than an average cable TV package.
Just how popular is cord cutting? eMarketer estimates that 33 million adults will not renew their cable subscriptions in 2018, up from 24.9 million in 2017. It’s estimated that almost 150 million people in the U.S. watch Netflix at least once per month, followed by Amazon Prime and Hulu (88.7 million and 55 million, respectively).
Another big player in the contest to collect the most viewers is YouTube. In 2018, the online video network boasted 1.9 billion logged-in monthly users, who watch more than 180 million hours of YouTube daily.
With increased competition stemming from streaming and online entertainment, where does that leave traditional television advertising?
Spending on TV ads fell for the first time in 2017, and will dip a further 0.5% this year to $69.87 billion as more Americans make the move away from cable. Viewership on even the most popular network shows continues to fall. As a result, television’s hold over domestic advertising spend is finally starting to loosen, with digital expected to bring in half of all ad revenue in 2018.
With numbers like these, are marketers ready to “unplug” their traditional advertising strategies and catch up with the times?
Knowing who makes up these cord cutters is vital information for advertisers as they seek to engage a new type of consumer. We dove into the depths of Oracle Data Cloud audience data to identify the trends and qualities that make up people who no longer pay for cable TV. As you’ll see, not all cord cutters are the same, and understanding the nuances of each is crucial to campaign success.
Geography: West Coast
Spending: Low buyers/bargain shoppers
What they are watching: Mostly religious and Spanish TV networks
Generation: Baby boomers
Income: Upper middle class
Geography: Live in mostly rural areas in the Midwest
Spending: Active/moderate buyers
What they are watching: Light TV viewers who watch mostly educational networks
Geography: Live in rural/minor metro areas
Spending: Active buyers
What they are watching: Kids' programming
Geography: Live in rural/minor metro areas in the South
Spending: Low/moderate buyers
What they are watching: Heavy TV viewers who watch mostly Black and Hispanic networks
Generation: Baby boomers
Geography: Live in rural areas
Spending: Active/heavy buyers
What they are watching: Light TV viewers who watch mostly politics and news
Who could have guessed that the cord-cutting crowd would be this diverse? These are not just savvy young millennials who have grown up on modern technology, but also baby boomers who don’t spend a lot of time consuming television.
These audiences also don’t account for the next phenomenon of cord cutters: the “cord nevers.” Cord nevers are the coming generation of viewers who have always been all-digital and have never had a cable subscription.
It will be interesting to watch these numbers continue to evolve over the coming years with more and more people unplugging their cable boxes. Television ad spending will most likely continue to decline, making it more important than ever for marketers to have a digital advertising strategy in place.
About Kori Wallace
Kori Hill Wallace is a content specialist for Oracle Data Cloud. She loves appetizers, animals, athletics, and alliteration. (See what she did there?)