Boomers Cutting Cords.

487235300Marketing wisdom has been that cord cutting was largely a Millennial phenomenon. While this was originally true, the largest increase in cord cutting is now among Boomers. As a sample of one while I have not cut the cord, and don’t intend to in the near future, I recently bought and installed an Amazon Fire Stick, and at the same time I had a cable outage for a couple of days. In that period, it was eye opening how much programming was available though streaming.

I guess other Boomers have found the same to be true and I recently read an interesting article in Media Post called, Boomers Driving New Wave of Cord Cutting, which provided some excellent insights (BTW, OTT is an acronym for Over the Top– content providers that distribute streaming media as a standalone product directly to consumers over the Internet)

Here’s an excerpt from the article explaining what’s going on:

What’s driving this? The answer is clear — Netflix. No longer does the stereotype of the binge-viewing Millennial hold true, Boomers are getting into the non-action action of binge viewing with a 13-point jump in Netflix viewing over 2017. To say that this is a significant increase over Millennials in the same time is an understatement as Millennial adoption of Netflix saw a slight decrease in 2018 from 2017 with a drop of 2 points. Now we know who the almost 2 million new U.S. Netflix subscribers in Q1 of 2018 are.

Boomers are moving from Live TV to streaming, so what are the implications for marketers?

1. OTT Advertising No Longer Just For Millennials – with the significant increase of OTT services like Netflix by boomers, OTT advertising is no longer relegated to just targeting millennials. Boomers are a growing audience in the OTT advertising space and present a first-to-market opportunity for marketers to engage in this medium.

2. Audience Classification Becomes More Complex – The formula of Live TV = Older audiences, OTT = Younger audiences is rapidly becoming antiquated. With Boomers driving cord-cutting and OTT adoption, all bets are off in terms of marketers classifying certain mediums for certain age cohorts. Audience classification will increasingly become a multidimensional practice, going beyond standard demos and assumptions.

3. OTT Needs To Go Beyond Impressions – As OTT audiences grow in scope and reach, OTT operators will need to move beyond the standard television model of impressions and adopt other metrics such as user interactions, leads, and acquisitions.

OTT is here to stay, and live TV is experiencing an existential crisis as even their tried and true audience is favoring streaming services such as Netflix. Marketers must adapt yet again to not only changing technologies but changing demographics on said technologies.

Video remains a powerful marketing tool, but in a much changed delivery. The days of appointment viewing of network programming continue to rapidly fade to largely live “big events”. Guess the days of watching Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights have been long gone, though I suspect a live performance by the Beatles would still be a ratings winner.

More Strumings


  1. ks says:

    I must some sort of weird combination of maverick and luddite, because our house has *never* had cable. Hence, no cords to cut.

    We almost never watch live-event TV, and streaming content bores me. We made an exception for Super Bowl LII, because that event was comparable to a 1974 AMC Gremlin landing on the moon.

    I probably shouldn’t be admitting all this, since I do technology for a living 🙂

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