×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Why People Still Hate Their Cable Company

Pay TV satisfaction rises 3% on annual ACSI survey, but cable operators turn in worst average of any industry sector

Big cable operators remain unable to shake the stigma of poor service and chronic rate hikes, once again turning in dismal  scores for TV service on the American Customer Satisfaction Index that — on average — are lower than any other consumer sector.

Overall, consumers’ satisfaction with pay TV television rose 3% over last year, to an all-time high of 68 on a 100-point scale.

But fiber-optic and satellite service, with a composite score of 72, pull up the average. Cable TV this year came in at 63 — lower than the industry’s average in 2001, and worse than the average scores of the 43 industries tracked by ACSI. The research firm attributed cable’s poor showing to the same litany of complaints that have dogged MSOs for years: yearly price increases, subpar call center service and sporadic reliability.

The latest ACSI results come as the pay TV sector, for the first time, lost net subscribers on an annual basis — dropping 80,000 for the 12-month period that ended in March 2013 — with cable operators particularly hard hit.

Close to 90% of U.S. households pay for TV, and now the industry is starting to face competition from so-called over-the-top Internet video services.

Consumers are happiest with Verizon FiOS TV (with a score of 73), DirecTV (72), AT&T U-verse (71) and Dish Network (70). The four MSOs measured on the survey are significantly lower, led by Cox Communications (65), followed by Charter Communications (64), Comcast (63) and Time Warner Cable (60).

Meanwhile, Internet service providers, which include cable companies and telephone companies, fare even worse than pay TV on the ACSI survey with a customer satisfaction benchmark of 65.

Consumers are frustrated with broadband service, according to ACSI founder and chairman Claes Fornell. But, he said, “in a market even less competitive than subscription TV, there is little incentive for companies to improve.”

Verizon’s FiOS and smaller ISPs top the list of Internet providers with average scores of 71. They are followed by Cox at 68, AT&T U-verse and Charter at 65, CenturyLink at 64, Time Warner Cable at 63 and Comcast at 62.

The ACSI was founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and was spun off as an independent research firm in 2009. The index is based on interviews with about 70,000 consumers annually.

SEE ALSO: Cord-Cutting: At Last, Hard Evidence It’s Really Happening

More Biz

  • Best Books of 2019

    The Best Books of 2019

    Whether you experience stressful days due to your professional position, your demanding family, or simply the barrage of never-ending depressing news, there is often no better way to unwind than with a good book. Letting your imagination wander into a new world unlike your own can be exciting, it can be thought-provoking, but perhaps most [...]

  • Makan Delrahim

    Antitrust Experts Decry DOJ's 'Outrageous' Stance in Writers Guild Case

    Several experts on antitrust law have expressed concern at the stance taken by the Department of Justice in the ongoing legal feud between Hollywood writers and their agents. Three agencies have sued the Writers Guild of America for alleged violations of antitrust law. A key hearing will be held in federal court on Friday, as [...]

  • Bob Bakish Viacom CEO

    Shares of ViacomCBS Dip in First-Day Early Trading

    Shares of the newly combined ViacomCBS were off in early trading, a sign that Wall Street continues to look for new signs of growth after two of the best-known names in entertainment merged to vie with bigger rivals. Shares of the company’s new common stock were off 59 cents, or 1.38%, in late-morning trading on [...]

  • David Cohen (l) Executive Vice President

    Comcast Veteran David Cohen to Step Down

    Longtime Comcast executive David Cohen is stepping down from his operational role overseeing public policy, government relations, diversity and other key corporate functions for the media giant. Comcast said Thursday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Cohen, senior executive VP and chief diversity officer, will step down from his operational responsibilities as of [...]

  • Lamar Jackson 49ers

    49ers Broadcaster Suspended After Lamar Jackson 'Dark Skin' Comments

    The San Francisco 49ers have suspended one of its radio color hosts, Tim Ryan, after he made a comment about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, saying that he is skilled at faking handoffs because of his “dark skin color with a dark football.” Ryan made the comments early on on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” morning [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content