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Is it Time for Marketers to Cut the Cord, Too?

There’s much talk these days about “cord cutting”—the choice some consumers are making to cancel their cable service in favor of either over-the-air (antenna) TV or alternative delivery services (Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, etc.) In fact, a million more consumers cut the cord in 2017.

The reasons that some consumers choose to walk away from cable or satellite are pretty obvious if you think about it. On one hand, there’s money to be saved in canceling cable. Many cable customers only watch a fraction of the channels they’re paying for, and with equipment rental fees and adding premium channels (Hello, Game of Thrones?) it seems the bill is always more than it’s worth. Not to mention that cable is often bundled with home phone, which many people are eschewing in favor of mobile-only.

The second most popular reason is content. Not only are the programs available on-demand through services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but these services suggest shows to you based on your watching history. But that’s not where the curation ends. These services even use viewer data to produce content that they know will be a hit, bringing us shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

So what’s the message for marketers? Abandon TV like the bellbottoms of yesteryear?

No, we don’t think so (although we do think you need to lose the bellbottoms).

First of all, many cord-cutters are also buying digital TV antennas to view live TV over the air. Advertising during major sporting events and award shows is still a great way to reach audiences when you know they’ll be watching.

And some alternative delivery services provide tiered offerings, some of which still include ads.

Plus, some subscription services such as Hulu and YouTube, in addition to many of the apps available for subscribed viewing, are adding live elements.

You can bet that cable and satellite providers will adapt as well, creating more innovation and competition for the eyeballs of the world. And in turn, more, newer and better alternative services will emerge.

Until then, pay attention to where your audience is and how your local demographics break down. Younger audiences abandon cable at a higher rate, so if this is who you’re trying to reach, you might want to be more aggressive about adapting.

Stay tuned, and we’ll inform you of any changes as they occur. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Don’t touch that dial!