The rise in streaming television viewing in the US continues apace with the frequent arrival of new “skinny bundles” of programming. But if you think there’s no difference between TV Cord Cutters—defined as viewers who eliminated their standard TV subscription—and Cord Nevers (people who have never paid for a traditional TV connection) think again. While Cord Cutters have some things in common with Cord Nevers, they differ in many ways.
Additionally, neither group has ruled out opting for a traditional pay TV service in the future, as their satisfaction with their current TV access situation leaves much room for improvement.
Netflix is front and center
First the similarities, as highlighted by the latest GfK MRI Cord Evolution study, which tracks the attitudes and behaviors of 10,000 respondents nationwide. Both Cord Cutters and Cord Nevers are big fans of shows on Netflix. All 10 of the favorite streaming-only shows of Cutters are on Netflix compared to seven shows preferred by Cord Nevers, whose other three shows are on Amazon or Hulu. The Netflix original “Orange Is The New Black” is #1 for both groups.
When it comes to platform choices, differences emerge. Netflix is the top streaming service among Cord Cutters, with 57% of respondents saying they have used the service in the past year. 50% said they had used YouTube and 37% Amazon. But Cord Nevers prefer YouTube (46%), followed by Netflix (39%) and Amazon (25%).
Video habits
Cord Nevers are heavy short-video viewers and they over index for over-the-top services like BBC News, Showtime and Vevo. Conversely, Cord Cutters are heavy Internet users and are more likely to be parents (35%, index of 112). They also over-index for OTT services like PBS Video, Disney Movies, Sling TV and A&E.
Semantical differences emerge when respondents are asked to define “TV” and old habits have a way of enduring.

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