Attack of the Cord Cutters

Every day, either for lifestyle or economic reasons, thousands of American consumers are cutting the cord, whether that term applies to cable television or satellite. Part of that is due to the success of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings, part of that is due to the rising cost of cable and satellite. While broadcasters would like to think the increasing number of offerings over the air in the digital spectrum has something to do with it, you don’t see too many people with HD antenna receivers watching TV the old school way, although if you ever try it, you might be truly startled by the number of channels you can receive and over the air HD TV looks better than any other delivery system available currently.

Is traditional television rocketing toward the same fate as big box retailers like Sears? The hottest new field in TV is called Over the Top (OTT). Instead of traditional network distribution via cable or satellite, we are in a world where content providers distribute streaming media directly to viewers over the internet. That is to the detriment of traditional telecommunications, multichannel television and broadcast platforms who used to hold the keys to content and distribution.

This trend is a challenge for traditional advertising and public relations because network and cable television has been the most dominant marketing vehicle for decades. Every major brand has dipped its toes into social media with varying success. YouTube has an almost infinite amount of content to a fault from a marketing standpoint, while paid subscription models offer little overt brand placement opportunities. Facebook and Instagram retain their powerful marketing potential, but shifting algorithms require marketers to stay on their toes. You are never stepping into the same digital river twice. And basically, everything you read that tries to explain how those algorithms work is a hoax, or they are outdated or replaced by the time you hear about it. That’s because the algorithms are extremely confidential and are also constantly being adjusted. The other challenge is that while Google is trying to monetize it’s virtual business monopoly on search (and remember they own YouTube), many algorithms have unintended consequences over time.

One thing remains true though—original content and strong creative always wins, regardless of the medium, or the algorithms. Quality content will always find a home. If you are confounded by the current media environment, don’t worry. It will change again! That could bring your old strategies back or you may need new strategies, but then again so will everyone else. As strange as it seems, the market upheaval provides a level playing field for everyone.