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Published May 16th 2019

Cord Cutting Conversation: How Consumers Are Discussing a Rapidly Changing Industry

It's all about the money, according to survey and social data.

#CordCutting is becoming a movement, but what’s driving it?

Firstly, some context.

Far from the umbilical connotations, cord cutting in the sense we’re discussing it is defined as: “the practice of canceling or forgoing a cable television subscription or landline telephone connection in favor of an alternative Internet-based or wireless service.”

With a whole array of options for streaming TV on-demand and live, we’re living in a time when it’s never been easier to live without traditional forms of access to television. That presents challenges for the big players in cable and satellite, but it’s not necessarily a death sentence.

Here, we’ll be delving into online conversations around the practice of cord cutting, to try to understand the reasons people opt to do it.

What are the primary concerns?

Of all the factors within the debate about whether cord cutting or sticking with cable is better, pricing is definitely the dominant factor. It massively outweighs concerns about show variety and commercials within the cord cutting conversation between October 2018 and May 2019.

But the price debate doesn’t necessarily favor cord cutters. Recent increases in price have seen streaming fans complain.


So price is a significant factor when people choose what service to go for, but perceptions of the relative affordability between traditional TV access and streaming seem pretty scrambled.


This both chimes and clashes slightly with survey results from The Hollywood Reporter which found:

“A whopping 90 percent of Americans say that the most important factor when deciding to subscribe to a TV or streaming service is cost. Meanwhile, 56 percent say cable is “unaffordable” and 47 percent say the same about satellite, while just 17 percent deem streaming unaffordable.”

Again, cost is important, but the perception of the affordability of streaming services seems far more favorable according to the survey.

Perhaps what’s important to note is that it’s fairly normal to have several streaming subscriptions in order to watch a variety of different shows available on each. On their own, these subscriptions probably do seem cheap compared to a cable package – but they add up.

Takeaways for those on the field

If cable companies are going to counter streaming services in the short term, highlighting the cost benefits of choosing their own offering compared to multiple streaming services is probably a good idea.

Another insight we found was that the majority of the gender-categorized cord cutting conversation came from male authors. Meanwhile, when looking at television mentions more generally (particular channels and shows) women tend to be more vocal. As television companies look to market their different offerings, this may be one way to inform audience segmentation.

Check out more television industry data in our Social Outlook industry spotlight section.

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