Video Revolution: Staying One Step Ahead Of Cord-Cutters And Cord-Nevers

It’s clear that consumers are watching more content on-demand than ever, yet most video publishers and marketers don’t seem to notice. Regardless of whether they’ve taken the plunge to eliminate their cable bill, or simply subscribe to a free or paid streaming service, consumers are choosing to consume content in a different way. This behavior is even more prevalent among 18- to 34-year-olds who have grown up with technology. In fact there is an entire generation of Millennials who are in jeopardy of being cord-cutter (or cord-nevers) once they become responsible for their own cable bill.

Recent announcements about over-the-top (OTT) products from HBO, CBS and Sony as well as offerings from Comcast and DirecTV point to an anticipated shift in viewing behavior, if it’s not already here. 

According to Nielsen’s recent Cross-Platform Report, 69% of U.S. adults 18+ today own a gaming console, multimedia device or enabled TV.  And 21% of US households now have dedicated set-top or plug-in devices, an increase of 10x since 2010. Which means they have the ability to stream content on-demand in several ways. Additionally, there’s been 53% growth in media consumption year-over-year for 18- to 34-year-olds, and part of this increase is due to viewing content on laptop and mobile devices.  

So if there’s no denying that this change is happening, why aren’t more marketers and publishers paying attention?

Consider Roku: It is now the #1 streaming multimedia device in the U.S, with 46% market share. Yet I was shocked to see only 1,800 apps or “channels” in the Roku Channel Store. To put this in perspective, Apple’s iPhone has about 41% market share in the U.S., and there are 1.2 million apps in the Apple store.

Seems like a huge opportunity for publishers to get their content onto a streaming device, and for marketers to reach consumers through a not-so-fragmented (yet) market of channels -- especially anyone targeting 18- to 34-year-olds. From 2009 through 2013, I saw publishers race to get apps into the Apple App store, only to find it was extremely crowded, hard to stay relevant and difficult to grow the subscriber base.

Publishers with a strong video offering should be pushing to get onto the major streaming devices while marketers should be vying to get their messages to consumers on these devices!  As more eyeballs shift to commercial-free, on-demand viewing, reaching consumers through the streaming device will be an important channel.

Still not convinced?   My company has an intentional focus on 18- to 34-year-old Millennials, and in recent audience surveys, we’ve found 11% of the viewers to be self-proclaimed cord-cutters and another 5% cord-nevers, adding up to a combined 16%. Yet when we view the data with a different lens -- specifically viewing patterns around our streaming content coverage -- we see another 25%-30% of the audience actively seeking out streaming content they could only access through the likes of Amazon, NetFlix and Hulu.

Again, for marketers and publishers, there is an opportunity to connect with these young consumers NOW and shape their brand loyalty.


•       Don’t ignore emerging platforms, as incremental effort for streaming devices such as Roku is minimal, and the competition is much less than on other platforms.

•       Streaming devices are a captive experience.

•       If you’re a publisher, creating compelling content is hard, but the distribution is getting easier. If you already create compelling video content, why not get on these platforms?

•       For marketers, devices such as Roku serve ads through digital ad platforms, creating a frictionless buying experience.

The best approach for marketers and publishers is to stay one step ahead of the changing consumption landscape.

3 comments about "Video Revolution: Staying One Step Ahead Of Cord-Cutters And Cord-Nevers".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, November 19, 2014 at 11:29 a.m.

    Convenience and price drives the younger demographics. Unfortunately it is tough to compete against free. The most popular shows on payTV are available on the internet for free therefore a huge audience is missing from those Roku channels...

  2. Jim Rice from Piiku, November 19, 2014 at 11:48 a.m.

    It is clear that chaos reigns in OTT space and will continue for the foreseeable future. Slicing and dicing is not going to spell success. Margins in the space are aspirational in my view. The only certainty is owning the pipes and carrying all the video and as icing on the cake, leveraging off that relationship with the consumer. Baring that the government doesn't mess up transport with Net Neutrality regulation, its a great place to be; a duopoly at worst. In stead of competing with 1,000s of choices in an environment where technology leapfrogs quarterly, there really are only two at best in the pipe sector; cable and telco. Wireless carriers are unlikely to keep up with the speed and traffic demands so I don't include them. WiFi will work, but its termination points are on to the big pipes (cable or telco). Its cable and telco and telco and telco only where they can build fiber to the facility or darn near close.

  3. Andrew Hayes from Wieden+Kennedy, November 24, 2014 at 2:55 p.m.

    Great article. There is certainly opportunity here. This opportunity does not necessarily cannibalize live viewership revenue either. TV consumption is increasing so live networks have the chance to profit off both live and streaming; they're not mutually exclusive.

    Something needs to be done about the growing number of apps though. Watching a show based on what "channel" it's on in the app world is too fragmented. Are consumers expected to download an app for every single channel they watch? Viewers want one place to go (or maybe 2 or 3) to watch everything and will have trouble remembering which networks produce what shows, especially as "cord-nevers" get older.

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