Cutters, Forevers, Nevers and Cobblers: How do you watch television?

Friday, February 24, 2017
Cutters, Forevers, Nevers and Cobblers: How do you watch television?

Changing television viewing patterns reveal different types of content consumption. Cord forevers, cord cutters and cord nevers — and don’t forget cord cobblers.

We are increasingly in charge of how we view content, not just by device, but how we access that content. A lot has been said about cord cutters, and this has been a cause for concern in the cable and satellite world, but a closer look reveals that there are multiple ways to access content, all revolving around a pay per view model.

Forrester estimates that 76% of us are cord forevers — those who pay for cable or satellite and have no intention of ditching the cord. A sub-group are cord shavers. These are people who reduce their subscription to include just a select group of networks. Providers are chasing this audience with “skinny bundles” with a price tag of $39 a month instead of $150. Ironically, many of these people then add streaming services like Netflix or Amazon to customize their viewing further, increasing their monthly cost.  

Roughly 6% of us are cutters, dumping our subscriptions. But there is a burgeoning group who are termed cord nevers. Cord nevers have never paid for cable or satellite and have no intention of doing so.

So how do you cobble content? Connected devices like Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast and Kindle Fire all give us access to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. These services all cost less than $10 a month, so they are affordable. 

With the penetration of smart television sets dramatically increasing, streaming cable and television programming access is even easier right through our TVs using Sling TV, CBS All Access, Hulu Plus, Direct TV Now, YouTube or Play Station Vu. Premium networks like ESPN, TNT and FX are some of the networks available for viewing with these products delivered on mobile, tablets and, of course, laptops or desktops. 

For marketers, these trends change how we look at communications planning. Historically, when we did channel planning, it used to be about television viewing quintiles and identifying those whose viewing patterns were heavy. Now we focus on the different touch points to message to our best prospects as we build plans. A much more efficient way to go in my book.

So what are you? A forever? A cutter or a never? I’m definitely a cobbler. I want to watch what I want, when and where I want.

Scott Nelson

Life moves fast and the media landscape continues to change as well. With the focus on the consumer, the purchase journey and relevant engagement , communications planning (marketing, creative, media and social) has never been more exciting. Consumers continue to morph their interactions with brands and the world around them. Strategic planning has become connected planning as we map out how to interact with consumers in both content (social, blogs, native advertising) and contact (video, search, mobile, programmatic in digital and television, radio, print and OOH) strategies. I work with a solid team of seasoned professionals; calibrating strategic media plans for a wide variety of audiences in the healthcare, automotive and financial spaces nationally, regionally and locally. 

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