This one caught us a bit off guard, but Comcast Ventures exec Amy Banse bluntly mentioned in a television industry conference recently that she views cord cutting as more of a media phenom as opposed to a viable threat to traditional cable business.
Personally, we see a frog slowly boiling in water. But we can also understand the stance taken to try and diminish the apparent threat coming streaming services, at least in the short term. For a while now, subscriptions to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have been more of an “in addition to” instead of an outright replacement for media consumption. In other words, people are keeping their cable subscriptions even with the addition of streaming apps to their monthly media consumption budget.
So is Banse right? Is cord cutting hot in the media right now? Absolutely. The below Google Trends graph details out the growth witnessed in media and search interest.
But compare the “cord cutting” interest to cable television related interest, and it’s easier to see that cord cutting still isn’t as mainstream as we might all think, as you’ll notice the large difference between “cord cutting” and “cable television” in the below graph:
However, this graph is still very interesting for a variety of reasons, and shouldn’t be used to belittle cord cutting.
I’m sure you notice how the blue bar for “cord cutting” is barely a blip on the graph. But it’s impossible to miss the massive dive in cable television related interest over the past decade (Google Trends).
This graph also seems to contradict Banse’s claim that cord cutting has been nothing but media hype, as proportionally the data seems to suggest there is an appropriate amount of interest currently in the media’s narrative about a changing tide of technology and content. More and more people are curious about the option of cutting the cord, and it’s obvious this trend is going to continue to grow as global internet bandwidth continues to improve access to data-intensive video streaming.
And finally, would Comcast really be working on its own streaming service if it didn’t see the cord cutting industry as a viable alternative to major cable subscriptions? It would seem counter-intuitive to suggest that they just want to be a part of a hyped trend that wouldn’t drive the bottom line.
During Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference Banse suggested that Comcast isn’t afraid of the trend, at least not yet. But she does comment that they are aware of changing habits.
“The way content is consumed is changing. We’re all aware of that. But I personally believe, and also by looking at our own statistics, that the volume of press around cord cutting doesn’t quite match reality.”
It certainly seems like this is an acceptable way to view things in the short term, but it would be foolish to continue to deny that the newest technology and services are going to make cable subscriptions more and more redundant. Most importantly, every minute we spend streaming content outside of the Comcast ecosystem is a threat to their business; certainly nothing to take lightly.