Who Are "Cord-Cutters" & What's Your Marketing Strategy?

Cord-cutters are a thing and you need to have a marketing strategy to capture those eyeballs.
Drew Lewis
January 21, 2022

Like it or not, there are already over 50 million Americans who have become Cord-Cutters/Cord-Trimmers and Cord-Nevers. In varying degrees, they have said "No" to cable or satellite companies, and this will most probably affect your digital marketing and that of your competitors as well. This article will dig deeper into what's going on in the marketplace, how this relatively new consumer behavior is growing in popularity, and what implications this can have on your marketing strategy.  

More than just a few nerds on the fringe

Cord-cutting was relatively rare among the average American consumer only a handful of years ago. Today, some analysts describe the growing trend of cord-cutters as dismantling the cable tv industry. But, if recent history has taught us anything about digital consumption, today's 50 million cord-cutters will soon double and triple faster than our ability to accommodate the implications.

Who are the 50 million?

Cord-Cutters and the less common moniker -- Cord-Trimmers, have pared down or completely severed their tv content relationship with their cable or satellite provider. Specifically, Cord-Cutters, as the name suggests, no longer pay their cable company for tv content. However, some may still receive their internet access and telephone landline from their cable company.

On the other hand, Cord-trimmers usually purchase the bare minimum of tv content from their cable company. There may be several reasons for this, not least of which may be a "bundled price offer" made by their cable provider. In this way, some cable providers "force" a minimum purchase of cable tv so that consumers qualify for a more reasonable price on the internet service they want.

Cord-Trimmers in this category may consume all of their tv content by streaming it through providers like Apple TV, even though their contracts identify them as cable tv buyers. This means the number of streaming-only-group might be even more significant than we realize.

Cord Nevers are entirely different. These people have never received their television content from a cable company, and today they represent approximately 31 million people. They consume a considerable amount of content through streaming.

What do we know about them?

Cord-Nevers tend to be younger. 90% of Americans aged 25 to 34 use a digital streaming service and are not interested in traditional long-term contracts for their tv viewing. They are most likely to be Youtube watchers, mobile-oriented, and active in social media. There are regional differences for these groups across the country, and generally, these differences follow well-known tech adoption trends.

Cord-Cutters and Trimmers a skew a little older to 49. As this trend becomes more popular, the age segment stretches a little older. As the idea spreads, more and more older people are joining in.

These people are digitally savvy and consume a significant amount of content. Binge-watching their favorite shows is common among this segment.

What motivates cord-cutting and trimming?

Saving money: "Do you want fries with that?" is an all-too-common pricing practice among cable and satellite providers. What begins as a reasonably priced introductory offer quickly balloons into exorbitant fees piled up as high as a car payment. Each new "add-on" helps providers nickel and dime their way to emptying your wallet.

Depending on the streaming service, the fee to watch the same amount of content is only a fraction of what it would be for a traditional provider. For example, Apple TV starts at only $4.99 a month. Netflix basic is only $9.99 a month. Hulu is $11.99 a month.

Multi-way streaming: Multiple people in the same household can watch their favorite programs and films using a wide variety of smart devices. No more squabbles about whose turn it is to watch their favorite movie. Everyone gets to watch what they want on their own device. Some serial tv programs can be downloaded ahead of time and then watched on a plane whenever or wherever they like – even when unable to connect to wifi.

Wide variety of services: Cord-Cutters and Cord-Nevers can enjoy a growing number of ideal replacements for a traditional broadcast tv program. Instead, they can cherry-pick their very own mélange of content through services like Hulu, Disney, and Netflix.

Keep your local favorites: It's difficult to estimate how many people still haven't "cut the cord" because they don't want to miss out on local news and live sports. However, they may not yet be aware that some services like Hulu + LiveTV enable you to continue watching these and cutting the cord.

Review additional marketing research here.

How can this affect my marketing strategy?

Even if you and your competitors don't currently participate in media buys that involve broadcast tv, everything is changing so fast the time might be ripe for you to start planning on taking advantage of all the changes. New, cost-effective video marketing strategies are made possible because of highly-targeted campaigns that wouldn't have been possible with traditional broadcast tv buys.

Branded Youtube Channels

You don't need a whole broadcast network media-buy to get the word out about your product or service. Content marketing populated with your own customer testimonials and video ads can work wonders for you on Youtube.


Video views are video views, and they're sometimes even more effective when you can pinpoint them to a very specific target. OTT (Over The Top) refers to streaming content to customers directly over the web. Online videos you may already have and/or new short videos featuring your product or service can easily be added to this content.

CTV (Connected TV) refers to any screen connected to a streaming service. This includes gaming consoles and smart tv.

The benefits of OTT & CTV

- Highly targeted, precise audiences eliminate the waste of your message going to the wrong people

- Rapidly growing market of young consumers who are cord-cutting from which you can mine your prospects

- Extraordinary measurability. For example, you can measure impressions by daypart, device, date, and day of the week.

Do you have a solid and effective marketing strategy that includes cord-cutters?

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About the author:

Drew Lewis is Head of Strategy at Redbear Films where he leads the charge in emerging media, creative and, of course, wizardry. Embracing today's media landscape of real-time data, co-creation with consumers, branded entertainment, and almost limitless channel combinations.
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