Subscription television and internet service providers continue to dwell in the cellar of consumer satisfaction, and change won't come unless there's a big shakeup.
In the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, both sectors tied for last place among the 43 industries tracked. In fact, only wireless telephone providers were the only telecom industry to improve on the index. According to ACSI managing director David VanAmburg, the wireless industry may be the place to look if the subscription TV division ever wanted to improve.
“If you look at where the wireless industry was a decade ago, or even five years ago, it's is easy [to see]: It’s so much easier with competition,” VanAmburg tells Marketing Daily. “If something like that could take hold with pay-TV to an extent where there’s a lot of meaningful choice and competition, we would see changes.”
Not that the pay-TV industry sees a need to change. With near monopolies in many areas, comparable technologies between them, and powerful consumer inertia keeping things steady, it would take a bold move by one of the players to incite change.
“T-Mobile made a big enough splash that the rest of carriers has had to play along,” VanAmburg says. But right now, “there’s very little incentive yet to worry about the customer [in a way] that would create a downward trend in pricing.”
Such a shakeup could come in the form of technological advances that cater to the growing popularity of streaming services, VanAmburg says. A wireless internet provided by one of the telecom companies,for instance, could drive away enough customers to force pay-TV companies to refocus on customer service.
“Who would be the best positioned now would be Verizon and AT&T, who are already playing the pay-TV world,” VanAmburg says. “There’s hope, but I don’t see anything changing in the near future.”