Cord-cutting is no longer just a buzzword, it's a reality that's reshaping the way we watch television. ESPN recently laid off more than 100 of their frontline writers, broadcasters, and analysts, due to dwindling viewership -- due in large part to cord-cutting and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. Additionally, YouTube TV, SlingTV, DirectTV, Playstation VUE, and Hulu now offer their own online, live-streaming services, as alternatives to satellite and cable. CNBC reports that nearly 33 percent of satellite and cable subscribers plan to cord-cut sometime in the future. That's a significant shift in viewing habits.
For example, last night my wife and I watched the NBA Playoffs on YouTubeTV via a laptop, which we had partially recorded to avoid commercials. After the game we screened the latest Better Call Saul from our DVR, captured the previous night. Over the weekend I replayed the last few episodes of Iron Fist on Netflix from my iPad. Like many contemporary TV viewers, we're no longer bound by the TV schedule, and according to multiple media outlets this is becoming the norm -- not only in America, but globally.
Netflix is clearly one of the leading streaming services, with over 99 million subscribers worldwide (and growing), according to CNN. To date, Netflix has been protective of their demographics and viewership statistics, so we don't really know how many people are watching a given show or series, but as of today we know a little bit more about when people are tuning-in. According to Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content at Netflix:
"For years our lives had to fit around television, now it’s the other way around. We’ve given consumers control and it’s interesting to see the behaviors that emerge when viewers aren’t tied to a schedule. And even more so to see that these routines are replicated by millions the world over."
Holland provides some interesting data and anecdotes regarding Netflix's viewing trends, which suggest some unexpected consumer behaviors:
"While you might not expect popular parodies to stir laughs bright and early, around 6 a.m. members are 34% more likely to watch comedy compared to the rest of the day... Drama accounts for nearly half (47%) of viewing between noon and 2 p.m.... Thrillers like The Walking Dead, Stranger Things and Breaking Bad are being enjoyed in the evening - globally the genre sees a 27% increase come 9 p.m. Globally, 15% of streaming happens between midnight and 6 a.m. and even rises as high as 21% in Japan and South Korea. documentaries see a 24% increase in viewing during this time."
One way to interpret this information (and perhaps understand why Netflix has become so successful) is that they realize their subscribers don't necessarily conform to a fixed TV schedule or location. That's probably obvious to most people, but it's worth noting that Netflix offers a wide variety of content, accessible at anytime from nearly anywhere -- a vast departure from satellite and cable, which traditionally require subscribers to watch from home.
The major cable and satellite services are now following Netflix's lead, offering their own streaming apps and websites to access live and recorded content from multiple devices and even away from home. Overall, it's definitely a great time to be a TV consumer, and the pace of innovation is only increasing.
How has Netflix (and other streaming services) changed the way you watch TV? Let us know in the comments down below!
Don't forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with your Twitter followers! Just hit the buttons on the top of this page.