It’s time for the pay TV industry’s annual slap in the face from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which surveys 70,000 people about the products and services they use most. Cable and satellite distributors always fare badly in these polls — but this year’s results are especially disturbing after a slight uptick last year. The companies’ pay TV services collectively scored 65 out of 100, down 4.4% from last year, making subscription TV the second-least liked of the 43 industries ACSI tracks. What’s worse? Internet service providers, with a score of 63, down 3.1% — and which mostly consists of the same companies. People ”question the value proposition as both, as consumers pay for more than they need in terms of subscription TV and get less than they want in terms of Internet speeds and reliability,” ACSI Chairman Claes Fornell says.
Time Warner Cable‘s at the bottom of both the pay TV and ISP lists (pay TV: 56, -7%, and ISP: 54, -14%). Second to last is its potential acquirer, Comcast (pay TV: 60, -5%, and ISP 57, -8%). That could hurt: ACSI data show that ”mergers in service industries usually result in lower customer satisfaction, at least in the short term,” Director David VanAmburg says. ”It’s hard to see how combining two negatives will be a positive for consumers.” At the top of the pay TV list are the industry’s two other major deal partners: DirecTV (with 69, -4%) and AT&T’s U-verse (69, -3%).
The rest of the pay TV lists includes Verizon’s FiOS (68, -7%), Dish Network (67, -4%), Cox (63, -3%), and Charter (60, -6%). The ISP one is topped by Verizon FiOS (71, flat) followed by AT&T U-verse (65, flat), CenturyLink (65, +2%), Cox (64, -6%), and Charter (61, -6%).