The New Water Cooler Conversation: Is It Time To Cut The Cord?

Media analyst firm MoffettNathanson has been keeping track of the amount of commercial time on TV and cable channels. It found that the second quarter contained another 1% increase, on top of steady gains throughout 2018.

So much for all those promises by media companies to reduce inventory.

Last week, the analyst firm also reported another big jump in cord-cutting. In the second quarter, AT&T, Comcast and Charter had a combined loss of more than 1.2 million traditional video subscribers.

Gee, do you think there is a connection? I don’t think there is any doubt.

There’s nothing worse than having to sit through a bunch of loud, lame and irrelevant TV ads when all you want to do is sit back and be entertained by compelling content. Talk about disruptive.



Advertisers are people too, and they’re not stupid. They have to wonder how many viewers actually pay attention to all those lame ads. Do you?

Intuitively, we all suspect the number is pretty low, although we won’t really know the answer until every TV set in America is eyeball-tracking enabled and someone keeps score.

By the time that happens, streaming will be the dominant video watching medium. With their built-in cameras, just about every computer has eye-ball tracking capability.

I can count on one hand the number of live commercial TV shows I’ve watched this year. Most of it is sports, as well as saying goodbye to the gang on "Big Bang Theory."

I watch my fair share of TV, mostly taped or streamed. And not a week goes by when I don’t have a conversation with a friend who’s either cut the cord or considering it. It’s the new water-cooler conversation: Is it time to cut the cord yet?

It’s really just a matter of time. Cord-cutting solves a lot of problems for viewers and lets them cherry-pick the channels and other content they actually want to experience, not the bloated, overpriced packages that TV providers want to cram down their throats.

Of course, the networks and distributors know this, too-- which is why most those who want to remain in business are also thinking about how to tap into the streaming world that viewers are increasingly opting into as they cut the cord.

7 comments about "The New Water Cooler Conversation: Is It Time To Cut The Cord?".
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  1. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, August 8, 2019 at 3:04 p.m.

    Let us be careful for the Samples of One.

    I carry a brief only for the truth.

    Eye-ball counting TV's?  Really.  In the bedroom.
    I do not think that's allowed by the Constitution.
    If it is, get out the Duck Tape.  Quack!

  2. Bill Shane from Eastlan Ratings, August 8, 2019 at 3:43 p.m.

    I'm sure a lot of people will groan when they read this, but I have to admit I don't totally hate watching TV commercials.  Agencies have really stepped up their game in their attempts to keep us entertained.  There are several spots I like watching because they make me laugh or entertain me in some other way.  Spots also bring to mind what products are out there, especially the newer ones.  I spend enough time in the GD grocery store reading labels; I can't imagine having to read more.

  3. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC replied, August 8, 2019 at 4:01 p.m.

    I am envious you have found a way to filter out all the Pharma advertising.

    In and of themselves, they are enough to make one sick.

    At this point in 2018, there had been "187 commercials for about 70 prescription medications (which) collectively aired almost half a million times. And to do that, drug companies shelled out $2.8 billion, according to marketing analytics provider"

    Glad you missed them.  Please pass the Eliquis.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 9, 2019 at 9:16 a.m.

    Steve, there's no doubt that today's TV viewer---who, by the way, spends more time with TV than his/her counterpart in 1960 because there is so much more content available now---- has many ad avoidance options and as the number of messages per in-show break has morphed from a single "60" to anywhere from 6-12 messages mostly of shorter length, more people are zapping commercials and/or paying less attention to many of them.

    That said, today's TV advertisers know that TV campaigns still produce results. Not only does ad awareness rise---not as fast as it once did, but  significantly---but research tells us that many viewers, if given a prompt to help their memories, can play back what an advertiser's TV commercial was trying to tell them.

    >While commercial avoidance is one of the reasons for "cord cutting" many cord cutters are simply looking for a cheaper way to get most of the same fare as well as subscribing to SVOD's ad-free services. A recent Nielsen analysis showed that the average adult who streams content via a vMVPD---most are, no doubt,  "cord cutters" ---is a generally light viewer but still watches slightly more "pay TV" content with ads than streaming content. If these people are rebelling against TV commercials why are many of them still watching commercial TV programming?

    The main reason why the various TV networks, movie studios, etc. are tapping into the streaming realm is not that great masses of their "pay TV" viewers are in revolt over too many TV commercials---yes, some may be, but far from all. Rather, these moves are part of evolving business plans which will rely less and less on ad dollars and more---much more---on subscriber fees paid by consumers. Already virtually all of TV's still handsome profits are generated by fees paid by consumers---not advertiser spending---and this is seen as the way forward. A situation, one might think, which might concern advertisers engaged in long term strategizing. Thanks to continued audience fragmentation, the time will  come when the amount of GRPs available for sale will really begin shrinking---especially those GRPs that are generated by the most desirable consumers---younger and affluent adults. In which case, the time sellers will be demanding huge CPM increases---and getting them. Even now various "adddresable TV" and "advanced TV" sellers are attempting to do just this under the guise of better targeting. Once these systems are refined so they actually do what is promised and more GRPs are allocated to them, this slowly evolving trend may also accelerate. Meanwhile, "cord cutters" who thought that they can pick and choose exactly what channels they want---in the process saving a mint---- will find themselves engulfed in new bundles and much higher prices than they anticipated---so most will wind up paying much more to get what they once received in their "pay TV" packages.

  5. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC replied, August 9, 2019 at 2:55 p.m.

    You are The Dean.

    Thank you for the never-ending education.

  6. Frank Anthony from Self, August 9, 2019 at 4:15 p.m.

    The only thing I hate more than a TV commercial is a god damn DIGITAL TV COMMERCIAL OR AD!!!

    I don't care how precise digital ad targeting can be, people hate it.

  7. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC replied, August 9, 2019 at 4:33 p.m.

    I = People?  Hate?

    How do you know and what did Digital Tv Commercials ever do to you?

    Just curious.

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