Pay-TV subscribers’ satisfaction with their video services from some of the largest providers is eroding, according to the latest annual survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI.)
The survey didn’t bode particularly well for would be merger partners Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which dropped 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively, in the survey’s video customer satisfaction rankings. On a 100-point scale, Comcast scored a 60 while Time Warner Cable came in last at 56, which was the latter’s lowest score to date.
On the flip side, AT&T and DirecTV, which announced their own mega-merger on Sunday, were tied for first-place (69), although both posted drops in their respective customer satisfaction ratings. DirecTV’s customer satisfaction score was down 4 percent while AT&T’s slid by 3 percent.
“Comcast and Time Warner assert their proposed merger will not reduce competition because there is little overlap in their service territories,” said ACSI Director David VanAmburg. “Still, it’s a concern whenever two poor-performing service providers combine operations. ACSI data consistently show that mergers in service industries usually result in lower customer satisfaction, at least in the short term. It’s hard to see how combining two negatives will be a positive for consumers.”
Verizon Communications was second (68) on the index, followed by Dish Network (67). While Dish Network was the lowest-scoring satellite TV company, it still scored higher than the top-scoring cable company, Cox Communications. Cox Communications’ score dropped 3 percent en route to an overall score of 63. Charter Communications saw a 6 percent drop for a score of 60.
Overall, pay-TV subscription customer satisfaction among the largest providers TV fell 4.4 percent to 65. Viewers were much more dissatisfied with cable TV service than fiber optic and satellite service (60 vs. 68.)
The ASCI’s latest results also found that customer satisfaction was dropping among broadband users. Customer satisfaction with ISPs declined 3 percent to 63, which was the lowest score on the index. Verizon’s FiOS service stayed on top of the broadband index by maintaining its score of 71. Following Verizon, in order, were AT&T and CenturyLink (65), Cox Communications (64), Charter Communications (61), Comcast (57) and Time Warner Cable (54). Comcast and Time Warner Cable’s scores dropped 8 percent and 14 percent, respectively, from the previous year.
The ACSI ‘s index survey was based on interviews with 70,000 customers annually as inputs to an econometric model for analyzing customer satisfaction with more than 230 companies in 43 industries and 10 economic sectors.