Cord cutting has been a hot topic of conversation for quite some time now, as many people look to move past the costs and other inconveniences of cable TV. The move is often motivated by the desire for a more modern version of streaming services that offer many of the same entertainment features. To truly understand what people think, the best place to start is with social media conversations. Social media is the largest and free consumer focus group, and if you have the right tools to discover social media trends, you can get a real sense of what people are interested in.
Social media trends tend to reflect the thoughts and feelings of consumers, and cord cutting is no different. According to a recent study, roughly one-third of all American households have cut the cord. While that is an incredible number, what is truly amazing is the rapid pace at which this is happening. The number of households with traditional TV subscriptions has dropped by 10% in just two years. Furthermore, Netflix is now being used by more people than both cable and satellite combined, the first time this has ever happened.
To see if cord cutting is as prominent as it seems to be, I decided to take a look at conversations happening online. My analysis included the most popular major TV networks (ABC, NBC, and Fox) and the major streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon) to see which are driving the most online buzz.
Social Media Trends for Cord Cutters
I have always believed that social media trends are the best available tool to see what will happen in the near future. This is clear when I look at what drove most of the conversations in March 2019 in the United States. The results showed that just shy of 60% of all mentions were around Netflix, Hulu and Amazon original series. This means that traditional TV networks only accounted for approximately 40% of all conversations.
If that data isn’t enough to show that social media trends are a reflection of what’s to come, it’s worth noting that the important demographic for every TV station, 18-25 year-olds, were the ones who were most actively posting. This is the young audience whose loyalty the station is trying to build for years to come. On top of that, the most discussed platform or station that this age group discussed in March was Netflix. A whopping 44.63% of all conversations were about this major cord cutting player. What came in second? NBC took this spot, with 13.83% of conversations being about the classic television station.
Perhaps the most effective way to determine if something is a real social media trend is to look at the interactions that a topic generates online. Interactions include everything from liking, sharing, replying, commenting, forwarding and more, of any post online. When comparing Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, ABC, NBC and Fox, it should come as no surprise that Netflix generated the most interactions of any of the topics. In fact, 33.17% of all the interactions on these topics were from Netflix.
So what can we learn from these social media trends about cord cutting? For me, the obvious answer is that we are entering a world where traditional pay-TV services are going to be as modern and prevalent as a VCR in 2019. The best thing that traditional pay-TV services can do is continue to evolve and restructure their offerings. Cable and satellite providers will likely end up allowing consumers to order stations à la carte in an effort to retain existing customers, and perhaps win back some that have left. If they don’t make a move and make it fast, they will continue to fall behind on the modern trend of how people consume filmed entertainment.