For years, seismic changes in consumer viewing habits have seen an increasing number of Americans ditching traditional cable television service in exchange for streaming alternatives such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney+, a disruption similar to readers’ decade-plus migration from print news publications to digital outlets.
According to new data from performance marketing company What If Media Group, the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the cord-cutting phenomenon, creating a potential boon for streaming providers in 2021 while leaving the cable business on shaky ground.
|Nearly a third of Americans said they now watch television solely via digital streaming services.|
What If’s report found that nearly a third of Americans (31 percent) reported that they’re now cord cutters, or viewers who watch TV content without paying for traditional cable service. Additionally, 41 percent of those respondents claimed that they’d made the move to cancel their cable service within the past year.
While traditional cable remains Americans’ primary medium for accessing TV content, the survey found that less than half (47 percent) of current cable customers said they’re planning to keep their cable service. Instead, more than half (52 percent) of cable customers reported that they’re currently considering getting rid of their cable service, with nearly a third of those respondents (30 percent) planning to cut the cord “imminently,” or sometime this year.
More than a third (37 percent) of Americans surveyed said they currently have one streaming service in their household. Slightly less than a third (29 percent) said they subscribe to two streaming services. 17 percent said claimed to subscribe to three streaming services, six percent cited four and 11 percent claimed five.
Netflix remains the dominant player in the streaming content market, with 41 percent of consumers citing it their “most-watched” service, with Hulu coming in at a distant second, at 21 percent.
When it comes to our news consumption habits, however, Americans seemed less enthusiastic about paying for written content. The What If report found that 84 percent of respondents said they’re not willing to pay a subscription to access the type of content that they like to read most. Instead, 79 percent said they’d rather access free written content that’s supported by ads.
On the other hand, 71 percent admitted that they’re willing to pay up to $10 per month to read certain online content.
What If Media Group’s report, “Cord-Cutting, Pandemics & Privacy Concerns,” was based on two surveys that polled approx. 30,000 randomly-selected U.S. adults online in December.
Jan. 28, 2021, by Joe Honick
If all this is really happening, one of the W's is missing: the Why? Seems to me that, under these studied data, there are some terrific opportunities for some marketing geniuses to help reverse or at least sell their services to get customers back on cable where millions if not billions have been invested.