It Turns Out Cable Cutters Don’t Care About Ads, Live Content, or Recommendations

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So why are so many streaming services focusing on these features?

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Market research firm and longtime TV ratings experts Neilsen released data last week which show that cable cutters prioritize cost and content when choosing to which streaming services to subscribe. While those data may not be surprising – after all, in the streaming wars, content is king – the same Neilsen report found that streaming consumers really don’t care that much about ads, live content, or content recommendations. So why are so many streaming services focusing on these features?

According to Neilsen’s latest Total Audience Report, live content, menu recommendations, and ad-free streaming rate near the bottom of consumers’ priorities when it comes to the importance of various streaming service attributes. For the report, Neilsen asked consumers  in streaming-capable homes to rate the various features and attributes of streaming services based on how important or unimportant they are. In what may come as a shock to streaming services like Hulu with Live TV who have gone all-in on live content, customers rated “Content available live” as one of the least important attributes. Just 37% of respondents rated live content as “very” or “extremely” important.

Menu recommendations came in next-to-last with just 38% of respondents ranking it as important, followed by “Content available for downloading/offline” at third with 40% finding it very important. 

In what may be the biggest surprise of all, the Neilsen data reveal that less than half (48%) of streaming consumers report that ad-free experiences are “extremely” or “very” important. Most of the streaming services with the largest subscriber bases market themselves in terms of the fact that subscriptions help them remain ad-free, so the fact that ad-free experiences are ranked so low on consumers’ levels of importance is surprising.

Head over to to read the full Total Audience Report and see what cable cutters are looking for in their streaming services – or at least what Neilsen’s market research has found that cable cutters want. How accurate are Neilsen’s findings?

By Brett Bowen

Brett Bowen is a writer from North Carolina. Brett most often writes about the intersections of science and technology and culture. You can reach him at [email protected]

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