Commentary

Streaming Services Trounce Pay TV

According to an ACSI consumer survey, reported by Todd Spangler, “…customers of streaming-video companies like Netflix and Hulu are far happier with their service overall than subscribers of traditional cable, satellite and other pay TV operators…”

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According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a research organization that maintains widely recognized benchmarks in multiple industries, this year, for the first time, the ACSI measured video-streaming services, which debuted with an average score of 75 out of 100, that crushed the U.S. pay-TV average of 62, notes Spangler.

“Indeed, says the report, pay TV continues its dubious distinction as one of the most-hated industries among American consumers: The sector’s average score of 62 is tied with U.S. internet service providers for the lowest customer satisfaction of all 46 industries tracked by the ACSI.”

“By nearly every measure,customers of streaming providers say they’re more satisfied than those of traditional pay-TV services. “Video streaming services significantly outperformed subscription TV,” David VanAmburg, ACSI’s managing director, said in announcing the findings.

“For one thing,” says the report, “cable TV has been around for decades, and has a longer history of angering customers with continual rate hikes and subpar customer service. In addition, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and other services are cheaper and simpler to use than cable or satellite TV offerings, and they don’t have the hidden fees typically associated with cable and telecom services,” VanAmburg said.

Among video-streaming services, says the report, Netflix, Sony PlayStation Vue, and Amazon-owned Twitch were the leaders of the pack on ASCI’s survey, tying with a score of 78. Apple iTunes and Microsoft Store tied with 77, and Google’s YouTube Red notched a score of 76, followed by Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Vudu, and Google Play with 75.

Other streaming services ACSI measured were 

  • CBS All Access (74) 
  • HBO Now and Starz (both with 72) 
  • Dish Network’s Sling TV (71) 
  • AT&T DirecTV Now and Showtime Anytime (both with 70) 
  • And the free, ad-supported Sony Crackle (68) 

Even in last place in the category, Sony Crackle rated higher than nearly all subscription-TV services, concludes the report.

Pay-TV providers turned in considerably lower scores. Near the bottom of the pack:

  • Comcast’s Xfinity TV, with a dismal score of 57 (down 2% from last year).
  • The only pay-TV operators tracked by ACSI with lower scores were Frontier Communications with 56 and Mediacom with 55.
  • This year, AT&T’s U-verse TV topped the subscription-TV list with a score of 70 (unchanged) 
  • Verizon Fios at 68 (down 4%) 
  • Dish held steady at 67 
  • DirecTV and Alice USA’s Optimum both dropped 6% to 64 and 62 respectively.
  • Cox Communications came in at 60 (down 2%) 
  • Charter Communications’ Spectrum and Alice USA’s Suddenlink both turned in scores of 58 (a drop of 8%)

One caveat in comparing Netflix and others with Comcast is that ACSI uses different weighted metrics for the various industry segments, says the report. But one area that jumps out is call-center satisfaction: Among pay-TV providers, that score dropped 3% this year to an average of 63, considerably below the 75 average for video-streaming providers.

Meanwhile, customer satisfaction for ISPs dropped 3% in 2018, to an average of 62. One of the chief reasons, according to the ACSI: More than half of Americans have only one choice for high-speed broadband, says the report. Scores for every major ISP deteriorated this year except Comcast’s Xfinity Internet, which remained unchanged at 60.

The ACSI’s 2018 Telecommunications Report is based on 45,292 customer surveys collected between April 19, 2017 and March 17, 2018. The full report can be accessed at this link. Here are the ACSI rankings for video-streaming and subscription-TV providers:

Video-Streaming Services

2018 Score

Netflix

78

Sony PlayStation Vue

78

Twitch (Amazon)

78

Apple iTunes

77

Microsoft Store

77

YouTube Red

76

Hulu

75

Amazon Prime Video

75

Vudu

75

Google Play

75

CBS All Access

74

HBO Now

72

Starz

72

All Others

71

Sling TV

71

DirecTV Now

70

Showtime Anytime

70

Sony Crackle

68

Source:American Customer 

Satisfaction Index, May 2018

 

Subscription-TV Services

2018 Score

YoY Change

AT&T U-verse TV

62

Verizon Fios

68

-4%

Dish 

67

DirecTV 

64

-6%

All others

62

-2%

Altice USA Optimum

62

-6%

Cox

60

-2%

Charter Spectrum

58

-8%

Altice USA Suddenlink

58

-8%

Comcast Xfinity

57

-2%

Frontier Communications

56

-7%

Mediacom 

55

-2%

Source: American Customer Satisfaction 

Index, May, 2018

For additional information, please visit here.

 

 

1 comment about "Streaming Services Trounce Pay TV".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 30, 2018 at 7:46 a.m.

    As a general comment, and as was pointed out, new services with relatively small core user bases can be expected to perform better in this type of study---especially if the respondent is not asked to compare each service with another specifically. However, once the honeymoon period is over and users find that they are not using the "new" service as often as they might have liked due to lack of sufficient original content or other issues, their novelty appeal fades. Also, the average SVOD/OTT service user continues to devote more time to "pay TV" content than to their SVOD/OTT programming---which tells you that general satisfaction claims are not perfect predictors of actual usage levels. We may not like our cable service as much as Netflix, but we still need it to supply us with news, sports, game shows, talk shows, big event specials, reality shows,  etc. etc.

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