According to eMarketer, a research firm, American’s viewers are cutting the cord. “Cord,” in this context means cable TV. According to the report (are you sitting?), 16.7 million people cut the cord in 2016 and (don’t get up yet), 22.2 will have grabbed the scissors in 2017, beating estimates. And, before you stand, people who never even had a cord to cut, or “cord-nevers,” rose 5.8 percent, to 34.4 million!

Of course we know that people aren’t denying themselves the joys of televised entertainment; they’ve just found a new way to receive it. OTT (Over The Top) content delivery from providers like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, YouTube Red and others have found a creative work around to broadcast and cable, For instance, Hulu re-purposes network shows. Others are producing their own high quality programming. This plan isn’t cheap for the providers. Apple, for one, will spend a billion dollars on content creation this year. But it pays off with subscribers who have in many cases re-assigned the money they were paying for cable to several OTT providers.

For product placement agencies, this is kind of a ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ scenario. There is really no change to the variety of placement opportunities, though the volume has certainly grown exponentially in this new paradigm. As has demographic specificity. With some 455 scripted shows across the content universe, consumers can be identified and reached with much greater accuracy. But overall, the process of brand integration remains essentially the same. There are some shows that want fees and there are many more shows that simply want branded assets to make their content more realistic. The people making these new shows are basically the same people who have been making the shows all along. This is unlikely to change regardless of how the content is distributed.

It should be noted that rumors of the traditional broadcast paradigm’s death are highly exaggerated and we’ll delve into that in the next blog.