New Study Gives the Lowdown on Cord Cutters, Cord Nevers, Cord Stackers and Cord Shavers — Notably, Who’s the Happiest (Also What All Those Terms Mean); the Study Also Compares Satisfaction Levels Among Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Other Streamers

Aug 25, 2016  •  Post A Comment

A new study of streaming video satisfaction reveals that the group with the lowest satisfaction level is the cord cutters — those customers who have recently canceled TV service. The J.D. Power 2016 Streaming Video Satisfaction Study finds the highest satisfaction level among cord stackers, which J.D. Power defines as customers who subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite service in addition to streaming service.

The second-highest level of satisfaction is found among cord shavers — those who still subscribe to TV but have downgraded their service package. Cord nevers — customers who have never subscribed to pay TV and only subscribe to streaming video service — come in third in satisfaction, well below cord shavers and just ahead of cord cutters.

Comparing the various streaming services, J.D. Power found that Netflix had the highest satisfaction level with an overall score of 829 on a 1,000-point scale, followed by Hulu at 821, one point above the industry average. Amazon Video had a score of 806.

Here are the key findings spotlighted by J.D. Power:

  • Cord Cutters Have Lowest Satisfaction Among Streaming Video Customers: Cord cutters had the lowest overall satisfaction scores (802) of any customer segment in the study, followed closely by cord nevers (807). Cord stackers (826) and cord shavers (822) had the highest overall satisfaction levels. Customers who do not have cable/satellite TV have lower satisfaction in all factors than those who do, with an especially large gap in the content dimension (-40 points).
  • Binge-Watching High: Nearly two-thirds (62%) of customers use a streaming service to binge-watch shows, the act of watching multiple episodes in succession. Overall satisfaction is 35 points higher among those who binge watch vs. those who do not (834 vs. 799, respectively). As binge-watching sessions increase in duration, so does overall satisfaction: 823 among those whose most recent session lasted less than 4 hours; 841 among those whose session lasted 4 to 8 hours; and 858 among those whose session lasted 8 hours or more.
  • Television Remains Primary Viewing Device: Nearly two-thirds (65%) of customers view streaming content through their TV; 55% of customers primarily view content on a laptop/desktop computer; and 48% of customers primarily view content on a mobile device. It’s notable, too that 56% of viewers use multiple devices to watching streaming video.
  • Original Content Viewership Higher Among Streaming Only Subscribers: More than half (54%) of cord nevers and 49% of cord cutters view original content vs. 43% among cord shavers and 41% among cord stackers.
  • Netflix Ranks Highest: Netflix ranks highest among the largest streaming video brands with an overall score of 829. Netflix leads or ties with the highest score in five of the six factors, performing especially well in performance and reliability and in customer service dimensions. Hulu follows close behind at 821, one point above the industry average. Cost of service and communication are strong areas of performance for the brand.

J.D. Power 2016 Streaming Video Satisfaction StudyChart published by J.D. Power


  1. I’m dubious. Every cord cutter whose opinion I’ve read anywhere says otherwise. Although many do say there is one show or channel they miss that they cannot access via any other source, everyone has said they don’t miss their former service and wouldn’t go back.

  2. The headline is misleading… I was expecting general happiness levels of the above groups and what I find is satisfaction levels of streaming service use..

  3. I grew up with cable and loved cable. The anchors on Headline News, the actors on Nickelodeon and even the movie hosts on American Movie Classics were big time celebrities to me. At one point in my life I even thought about writing about book about cable grew from just a few channels to now a mega collection. However, as I got older I saw cable for something other then a convenient service— I started to see first hand that it has one of the slimiest business models and most cable companies will do anything they can to screw over there customers. For most of my 20’s I played what I call “The Cable Game” which means trying to negotiate a deal every 6-months so that I wouldn’t be paying such ridiculous amounts of money for a crappy service… about 8-years ago I just had enough and said “goodbye cable”. I honestly think getting rid of cable was one my best decisions. The local channels are available for free with an antenna and the quality is so much better. About 6 years ago I bought my first Roku and streaming has really come a long way in the past few years. Between the local channels which have the best shows and streaming I am set. In fact, when I travel and I’m forced to watch cable in a hotel room I cannot believe how many commercials they make you sit through to watch one show. Seriously, you pay so much for cable and then ridiculously long commercial breaks. To me cable was so cool when I was a kid and now it is just unwatchable and embarrassing. Cable was such an innovative service and it has completely turned into the biggest bottom feeder in America. Yuk! Here I am this middle class guy trying to make ends meet and I am feeding a beast of people who I’ve read are talking 70+ million dollar salaries. Cable service and cable channels are simply the slimiest people and will do anything to scam you out of one dollar… I know they still call me weekly. I have a response that I use anytime asks me why I don’t have cable “They could cut the cost in half and my salary could double and I still wouldn’t subscribe to that awful service”. Cable is slimy but even more so there product is outdated and awful. Streaming is awesome and I hope it stays awesome. I watch so many great shows and I can do it on my timetable.

  4. I cut the cable years ago, and have never regretted it. Oh, and I don’t use streaming services either. I tried Netflix for 3 months, got bored with it, and gave it up. I’ve never been happier about my lack of cable and I sure am happy about saving $100 a month.

  5. I too, am highly skeptical of this. I’ve yet to talk to a person that has cut the cable and expresses dissatisfaction and wishes they could go back. I’m essentially a “cord-never” (been w/o cable for well over 20 years). I miss nothing.

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