By: Jeff Glahn, SVP and Head of Global Sales
As the television industry evolves, “cord cutting” remains a resounding buzzword, drawing attention to the ever-growing number of consumers seeking to trim expenses on cable or pay TV subscriptions, and creating space for the influx of streaming services into their entertainment landscape. However, the phenomenon of cord cutting isn’t a recent development; it traces its origins back nearly two decades to when cable and pay TV channels such as MLB and Disney started creating websites for consumers to view content online. The interest in cutting the cord became popular as services like Netflix, Hulu and Pluto TV have become relevant and enticing to customers who want a variety of content available 24/7 – and initially provided a better option to cut costs when compared to a traditional cable package.
This trend has continued as streaming services have risen in popularity with their vast and ever-growing catalogues of shows and movies. Combined with the initial cost savings, the move away from traditional cable packages was all the rage in the late 2010s. Yet, as we delve further into the streaming era, the trajectory away from cable and pay TV might not be as straightforward.
The TiVo Q2 2023 Video Trends Report found that 27% of respondents with pay TV plan to cut the cord within the next 6 months – signaling that the cord cutting movement is still alive and well. A new trend is emerging among consumers who once severed the cord and are now contemplating a return: cord reviving. This quarter’s report also found that 28% of cord cutters are later deciding to resubscribe to traditional TV service, unveiling the growth in the cord revivalist movement.
The Move to Cord Reviving
Cord reviving has grown in popularity over the last few years among people of all ages and locations. While every household is like a snowflake in a snowstorm, there are similar pain points and considerations that add up and create dilemmas for people of how to get all the content they want in a streamlined and cost-effective way. Thus, unveiling the two main reasons why people are coming back: cutting the cord made it too difficult to find their favorite content and that they found themselves with too many streaming options to choose from.
While the abundance of choice is one of the many perks of the streaming landscape, it has also grown to be a major pain point. As consumers moved away from cable and pay TV, they became frustrated with all the choices and the lack of clarity on where to find shows and movies. Instead of simplifying the search, people were faced with the problem of not knowing which app to visit to find their content.
As more streaming platforms came to the market and flooded the landscape with even more video content, people started spending more to keep up with all the streaming service options – averaging $170.86 per month on video spending per the latest TiVo Video Trends Report. Instead of just using one streaming service as a substitute for their traditional cable package, consumers signed up for a variety – this year averaging 10.9 content sources per person according to the trend report. What started as an opportunity to cut costs increasingly became more expensive for consumers as they added platform after platform to their list of monthly costs.
Live sports are also at the center of why many individuals have reconsidered their cable and pay TV subscriptions. While streaming providers are increasingly looking for ways to tap into the live sports market, cable and TV subscriptions continue to be the hub for popular sports especially when it comes to signature events like the Super Bowl and Olympics.
Re-Engage the Cord Cutters
While the interest of consumers in returning to cable is evident, there’s a bright prospect for providers to illuminate the advantages of revitalizing their subscriptions. Cable and pay TV providers now have a unique chance to combine their time-honored services with subscriptions to sought-after streaming platforms, seamlessly uniting all content under solutions like TiVo’s IPTV Platform. As these providers enhance their personalization and search features within their platforms, they are poised to foster a stronger sense of user loyalty and engagement.
In addition, as they aggregate all the content into one place, they’ll become a one-stop-shop for content amid a period when streaming costs are rising. Consumers can get the content they want from their cable provider and in one easy to pay bill. Plus, when combined with AVOD services like TiVo+, a free ad-supported video content network offering instant access to over 100,000 movies and TV shows, news, sports, kids and specialty programming on 150+ live channels, consumers will have a plethora of content at their fingertips, accessible through a consumer-friendly platform. Once it is all bundled together, it’s hard to deny the benefits of reviving the cord.
Once cable and telecommunications providers tap into this cord reviver market there’s another emerging sanction of consumers – the cord revolvers. At TiVo, as we continue to explore where the market is headed, we’ve noticed there’s a growing group of people who want cable and TV subscriptions for part of the year, but not all year. From football fans who just want cable in the fall season to snowbirds who only need their subscription package at their homes in the winter months in Florida or Arizona, not everyone wants to buy-in to a yearlong package. TiVo provides platform providers a level of flexibility and scale that gives consumers the ability to manage all their apps and services, giving them the opportunity to opt-in and -out as needed.
In this landscape of shifting consumer preferences, the path to success lies in constant evolution and a steadfast commitment to meeting consumers on their terms. By continually expanding their horizons and responding to the dynamic demands of the modern viewer, providers have the potential to usher in a new era of cable and TV subscriptions. With the provision of diverse content, accessible bundles, and an array of comprehensive packages, the industry stands on the brink of a remarkable renaissance. The stage is set, and the possibilities are boundless. It’s a moment where innovation and audience connection converge, signaling the dawn of a resurgent and vibrant era for cable and TV subscriptions.