Cord-Cutter’s View of Traditional TV

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Cord-cutters and cord-nevers are widespread terms in the after-cable TV era. You must have heard about them.

If not, let me elaborate: cord-cutters are the viewers who either partially abandoned watching traditional TV or have never watched it. Instead, these viewers prefer to switch over to OTT services.

This topic particularly appeals to me as I haven’t been watching traditional TV for more than 10 years. I’ve become a faithful adept of cord-cutting.

Veronika Ban,
Director of Marketing

The majority of my acquaintances also belong to this category of viewers. However, they choose to watch it as background entertainment that doesn’t interfere with their other activities. In this article, I want to share with you the reasons that made me, and probably many others, to “cut the cord”. Let’s start with the main reason, of course: no freedom of choice of the content and viewing time.

When I was a traditional TV viewer, I used to think: "So many channels yet nothing to watch!" The thing is, not all content is equally interesting for the user. It is a real pain to shortlist the right content in a sea of TV programs. In a desperate attempt to find something interesting to watch, you start pressing the buttons on the remote control only to find yourself simply wasting your time. Patiently switching between at least 20 channels in vain, anyone would feel somewhat irritated by yet another TV journey turned into a total failure. You’re throwing away your life through meaningless actions. Can you imagine that? Nonsense! Personally, I am not going to waste any more of my precious time.

Of course, you have favorite TV shows and movies and you know the exact time when they are to be broadcast. However, the difficulties await you at this stage, too. For example, the two favorite shows that you enjoy may run on two different channels at the exact same time. You'd probably want to watch that TV show but you have to commute to your work or study. Bad luck! Our high-paced world won’t let you stick to a TV guide and forget your busy schedule as the costs would be extremely high. So, if the user has an hour to spare and indulge their favorite content, I guess it is evident that this desire should be satisfied.

Another factor accounting for my cord-cutting decision has to do with TV ad breaks. Before I begin, let's make it clear: I work in marketing. Besides, my company develops ad tech software. God forbid I would be against advertising in general. I am fully aware that those who publish and distribute the content try their best to monetize it. On the other hand, advertisers seek ways to promote their brands to wider audiences. In this respect, advertising is a perfect fit for both parties as it allows them to meet their goals. However, as a viewer, I am more irritated with ads on TV than on YouTube. I will tell you why:

  1. Ad breaks are too long. Cable TV averages 8 minutes of ads per half an hour. This means that one single TV show that lasts an hour and a half, delivers a whole bunch of 24 minutes of ad spots. When we compare traditional cable TV to VOD services, the latter will only break one’s viewing experience for a couple of minutes. Such commercials are usually unnerving and free (sure I don’t mean premium content here).
  2. Ad breaks are identical and irrelevant. Let me tell you something from my experience. Recently, I’ve been to my parents who are people of old age and stick to traditional cable TV. Some movie was on and, of course, it was alternated with a dozen or so ad breaks. I was wondering if at least something had changed through the years of cord-cutting. Guess what? Nothing changed; there were the same commercials that used to be on ten years before. What’s more, I recognized the same beaten patterns as coffee producers followed a row of pharma and auto brands and some such other stuff...

However, "the first prize" went to one particular storyline. I saw a happy family that promoted the brands selling cornflakes, juice, or porridge, etc. TV viewers were left to consume the very same topic that’d been around for almost ten years! Ok, I can agree that the majority of TV viewers are housewives that find such a commercial relevant to their way of life. But what about the other viewers? Others also have to chew on that content! No matter which demographic group you belong to, you’d probably want to watch the ads that speak to your interests and entertain you in some way. However, traditional cable TV keeps on showing identical ads full of clichés. It just can’t go any further!

The above are my personal reasons for cutting the cord. Although I believe the list of reasons goes further than just that. The growing cost of traditional TV and lack of full access to the content across devices also drives the users to ditch the cable.

I would never encourage TV and media companies to stay away from traditional cable services. The majority of TV audiences still watch traditional TV. However, why not think about the rest of the viewers, I mean, the growing amount of people who prefer to watch the content in a new format? You have a lot of high-quality stuff that we'd love to watch — but only in the format that has become suitable and habitual for us.

I guess it is time everyone in the niche give it a thought and have an edge in the competition. I know that some companies are ready to change, or have already started to transform, their business. The latest deal between Viacom, an American largest media player, and Pluto TV, a famous OTT streaming provider, is a reflection of the trends that prevail over the market now. However, not everyone is ready to go this way. This happens because the move towards Advanced TV is a trend that resembles the move to mobile-optimized content. At first, it used to be ignored by many. But after a while, the content optimized for mobile has become a must-have for the changing reality. Yet it’s going to be more complicated with TV. Netflix, Hulu, Roku are already dominating the market. Also, Disney+ is due to launch its TV streaming services in late 2019. It will be hard to compete with them. It is the right time for your voice to be heard by the users.