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Report: Cable subs less satisfied with cost of TV service

Wed, 10/06/2010 - 8:25pm
Traci Patterson

When compared with 2009, residential video service subscribers are less satisfied this year with the cost of their service — in particular, cable subscribers.

According to J.D. Power and Associates' 2010 U.S. Residential Television Service Satisfaction Study, customer satisfaction with the cost of television service averaged 541 on a 1,000-point scale in 2010, down 14 points from 555 in 2009.

Customers of traditional cable operators were particularly dissatisfied with the cost of their service: Their satisfaction was 22 percent lower than customers of telcos and 18 percent lower than customers of satellite.

"Despite this decline in satisfaction with cost of service, DVR adoption rates and video-on-demand access have experienced healthy gains," said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates. "It's apparent, however, that TV providers must better communicate their price-value proposition, as customers are increasingly voicing irritation with the amount of their monthly bill. Seventy-four percent of customers who say they definitely or probably will change TV providers in the next year cite price as a major reason to switch."

Among customers who receive programming from cable, 56 percent said they "definitely will" or "probably will" recommend their provider to others, a decrease of three percentage points from 2009. Seventy-seven percent of satellite-based television customers said the same — a decrease of one percentage point from 2009. Recommendation rates among customers of telcos remained unchanged from 2009, averaging 84 percent in 2010.

Overall customer satisfaction with television service providers remained stable from 2009 and averaged 629 in 2010 — a decrease of three points from 632 in 2009.

The study measured customer satisfaction in four regional segments: North Central, East, West and South. In each segment, five factors were measured to determine overall customer satisfaction: performance and reliability, customer service, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions.

For the third consecutive year, AT&T U-verse ranked highest in the West (with an index score of 698) and South (732) regions. AT&T U-verse also ranked highest in the North Central region (728). In the East region, Verizon FiOS ranked highest for the third consecutive year with a score of 679.

"Economic issues are still major considerations for many households across the country," Perazzini said. "Customers who are foregoing premium channels are filling the void with video-on-demand, pay-per-view, movie rentals and time-shifted DVR content."

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