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Cord-cutters least happy streamers

News, 29 August 2016

NEW YORK: Cord-cutting has concerned the pay TV industry for a long time, but a new survey has found consumers are most satisfied with their streaming service when they also subscribe to traditional cable or satellite services.

What's more, these "cord stackers" account for the great majority (60%) of consumers who use streaming services, and that compares with about 13% who have cut the cord.

Meanwhile, about a quarter (23%) of US viewers are identified as "cord shavers", or those who have downgraded their pay-TV service package, while 4% never subscribe to pay TV and have opted entirely for streaming services.

These are some of the headline findings from a survey of more than 3,900 consumers conducted by research firm J.D. Power for its 2016 Streaming Video Satisfaction Study.

J.D. Power's inaugural report polled customers who had used a subscription or transaction-based streaming video service within six months and measured customer satisfaction according to six benchmarks – performance and reliability; content; cost of service; ease of use; communications; and customer service.

Based on a 1,000-point scale, the report found overall satisfaction to be lowest among cord cutters (802), followed by "cord nevers" (807), but highest among cord stackers (826) and cord shavers (822).

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of customers use a streaming service to binge watch, or watch multiple episodes in a single viewing session, and their overall satisfaction was found to be 35 points higher than for those who don't binge watch.

The report also revealed that television remains the primary device for streaming viewers, with nearly two-thirds (65%) doing so through their TV, while more than half (56%) use multiple devices.

Commenting on the findings, Kirk Parsons, a senior director at J.D. Power, said: "The streaming video customer experience appears to be stratifying across the different subscriber segments, with pay TV service still having a major effect on the overall streaming video experience. Part of the reason is demographics.

"Customers who only stream are younger than those who also have TV. Nearly two-fifths (37%) of customers who only stream are 18-34 years old, compared with 30% of those who also have TV. Notably, 52% of cord nevers are 18-34."

Data sourced from J.D. Power; additional content by Warc staff