Social Analysis Reveals That Nimble Brands Can Capitalize on Cord-Cutters

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Networked Insights discovers the top 10 brands most likely to succeed in targeting viewers who no longer subscribe to cable, including HSBC and Walmart.

"Advertisers who align TV media buys with the right online programming faster than their competitors will succeed in the new model."- Rick Miller, VP, Customer Insights

While TV viewers who don’t subscribe to cable can be a concern for advertisers and cable providers alike, a Networked Insights analysis found that cord-cutters’ engagement with over-the-top (OTT) content that bypasses the traditional cable delivery model provides brands with significant opportunity.

Using its SocialSense platform, the marketing decisions firm found that cord-cutters were actually more invested in television programming than a general audience. Those who consumed over-the-top (OTT) or non-broadcast television were actually 1.6 times more engaged with programming regardless of platform. The findings come on the heels of HBO and CBS announcing stand-alone streaming apps that could fuel more cord-cutting, potentially disrupting the traditional advertising model.

Rick Miller, vice president of customer insights at Networked Insights, said brands still have plenty of opportunity to reach cord-cutters if they can determine the TV shows their customers are watching online.

"Advertisers who align TV media buys with the right online programming faster than their competitors will succeed in the new model," said Miller. "We expect the profile of the 'typical' OTT viewer to change a lot as the segment matures, but today these consumers have distinct habits nimble advertisers can capitalize on."

Using its Affinity Ranker tool, Networked Insights discovered the top 10 brands most likely to benefit from targeting self-identified cord-cutters, including financial services company HSBC and alternative clothing retailer Johnny Cupcakes. Other companies high on the list of potential advertisers include Walmart, Burger King and Costco.

The companies identified through Networked Insights’ platform have a high probability of success because the cord-cutting audience engages more with the listed brands than does the general public.

Brands Resonating With Cord-cutters – August-October
Brand    Category    Affinity Score
HSBC    Financial Services    +1.2
Johnny Cupcakes    Retail - Clothing & Fashion Stores    +1.1
On The Border    Restaurant, Restaurant - Casual Dining    +0.7
Walmart    Retail - Mass Merchandiser/Discount Stores    +0.7
Bed Bath and Beyond    Retail - Home Goods    +0.6
Burger King    Restaurant, Restaurant - Fast Food    +0.6
Kool-Aid    CPG - Food & Beverage    +0.6
Costco    Retail - Mass Merchandiser/Discount Stores    +0.5
Home Depot    Retail - Home Repair/Supplies    +0.5
GameStop    Retail - Electronics    +0.5
Source: Networked Insights Affinity Ranker, 2014
Affinity Score Note: -3 = poor brand engagement, +3 = high brand engagement    

The study of conversations on the social web also revealed that while cord-cutters are a distinct audience from traditional TV viewers, they still gravitate toward shows that include advertisements. Of the 10 most popular programs cord-cutters were engaging with August through October 2014, only “Game of Thrones” was ad-free.

“The mode of content delivery has changed, but in many instances cord-cutters engage with the same content as cable viewers, complete with ads,” Miller said. “For brands that resonate well with this audience, there are still plenty of opportunities to reach them online."

TV Programs Cord-cutters Were Discussing – August-October    
Program    Genre/Network Type    Affinity Score
“The Walking Dead”    Genre: Drama — Network Type -Sci-Fi - Cable     +1.4
“Super Soul Sunday”    Genre: Talk Show — Network Type - Cable    +1.1
“Hardball”    Genre: News — Network Type - Cable    +1.0
“@Midnight”    Genre: Comedy, Talk Show — Network Type - Cable    +0.9
“The Simpsons”    Genre: Comedy, Sitcom — Network Type - Broadcast    +0.6
“The Following”    Genre: Action/Suspense, Drama, Mystery/Thriller
Network Type - Broadcast    +0.6
“Meet the Press”    Genre: News — Network Type - Broadcast    +0.6
“Tyrant”    Genre: Drama — Network Type - Cable    +0.5
Emmy Awards    Genre: Award Show — Network Type - Broadcast    +0.5
“Game of Thrones”    Genre: Action/Suspense, Drama, Fantasy,
Network Type - Premium    +0.5
Source: Networked Insights Affinity Ranker, 2014
Affinity Score Note: -3 = poor brand engagement, +3 = high brand engagement

For more information on SocialSense and the Affinity Ranker tool, visit

About Networked Insights

Networked Insights, which enhances consumer data from the social web to be decision-ready for brand marketing professionals, helps companies make more effective marketing decisions by providing them a real-time window into brand, consumer and competitor behavior. The SocialSense marketing decisions platform provides companies with easy-to-use and powerful technology to identify audiences, discover customer interests, get instant campaign feedback, assess brand health, track purchase behavior and measure sales lift.

Learn more at

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