Not Quite Cutting the Cord
NBC Universal announced that it will make more than 3,000 hours of Olympics coverage available online to viewers who currently subscribe to cable. This is a choice that more and more media companies are making as they move towards the “TV Everywhere” model of doing business, which requires that users prove that they pay for TV content before they can stream online content.
This has always been HBO’s online strategy, and rumors have been circulating recently that Hulu will soon require users to authenticate their cable subscriptions in order to view online content.
I’m one of the cable-cutters that you read about whenever a story like this breaks. I haven’t owned a TV for about five years, and I can usually find all of the content that I enjoy through other means like Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, and Netflix.
The big exception, however, is live programming like the Olympics, the Oscars, and the Super Bowl. Without a way to stream online content, I usually end up missing it and just watching the highlights on my favorite blogs the next day.
I’m not alone in deciding that the expense of a TV and a cable subscription doesn’t make sense for my lifestyle. In 2011, about a million people in the U.S. and Canada agreed with me and cut the cord.
This is a growing number of people that media companies are failing to reach during some of the biggest brand advertising events of the year. By not engaging with this audience, media companies and advertisers miss out on the opportunity to engage sophisticated, tech-savvy consumers.
While I applaud media companies for taking a step in the right direction by acknowledging that consumers want the ability to watch content online, I think they must also recognize that there’s a growing population who only watches online.