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Meet the cord-stacker: Happiest streaming customers also pay for cable, study shows

About that whole 'cord-cutters' thing.


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Posted on Aug 29, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 3:52 am CDT


People like to talk about how cord-cutters and cord-nevers are forgoing cable and satellite fees and getting their pay TV fix via video-on-demand services. But the ones who are actually the most satisfied with the paid streaming video experience are cord-stackers—people who also subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite—according to the to the J.D. Power 2016 Streaming Video Satisfaction Study, released today.

The study polled 3,928 customers who had used a subscription- or transaction-based streaming video service within the past six months. It measured customer satisfaction by examining six key factors (in order of importance): performance and reliability; content; cost of service; ease of use; communication; and customer service.  

Three-fifths (60 percent) of the streaming customers were cord-stackers; 23 percent were cord-shavers (who still subscribe to TV but have downgraded their package); 13 percent were cord-cutters (who have recently canceled TV service); and 4 percent were cord-nevers (who have never subscribed to pay TV and only subscribe to streaming video service). Satisfaction was measured on a 1,000-point scale.

Overall satisfaction was lowest among cord-cutters (802), followed by cord-nevers (807), while satisfaction is highest among cord-stackers (826) and cord-shavers (822).

The study found that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of customers use a streaming service to binge watch, and overall satisfaction for the binge watchers was 35 points higher than those who don’t binge (834 vs. 799, respectively). As binge-watching sessions increase in duration, so does the overall satisfaction score: 823 among those whose most recent session lasted less than four hours; 841 among those whose session lasted 4-8 hours; and 858 among those whose session lasted eight or more hours.

Traditional television still outranks mobile as the preferred device on which to stream video. Sixty-five percent of customers viewed streaming content through their TV; 55 percent viewed content on a laptop/desktop computer; and 48 percent viewed content on a mobile device. More than half (56 percent) of viewers use multiple devices to watch streaming video.

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*First Published: Aug 29, 2016, 11:57 am CDT