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Surprising Findings from the American Customer Satisfaction Index Survey

Introduction: #

The latest annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) report covering wireline broadband Internet & Pay TV, Video Streaming services and WiFi usage has just been released.

Wireline Broadband Internet and Pay TV Services: #

Verizon Fios and AT&T U-verse (1.) tied for the top ranking for telecom service as both network providers improved on their scores from 2019.  Regarding satisfaction with video-on-demand services, AT&T’s U-verse TV was a surprising #1, with a score of 74, with Verizon Fios and Dish Network tied at 71. Overall satisfaction in the category increased since the previous survey last year.

Note 1. This author has been a U-verse subscriber since early 2012.

Fios (up three points to a 73 score) and U-verse (68 score) were also the highest scoring wireline broadband services for Internet and pay-TV in the latest ASCI telecom report. They also led in rankings including in-home Wi-Fi and VoD services.

What’s interesting here is that AT&T is no longer selling U-verse to new customers! Further, AT&T reported 897,000 lost pay-TV subscribers between DirecTV and U-verse in the first quarter (it didn’t break out customer metrics between the two fast deteriorating platforms)

AT&T is now throwing its marketing might behind its new pay-TV linear streaming platform  AT&T TV and it’s VoD service HBO Max.

Verizon is now marketing third-party OTT video services, including YouTube TV and Disney+, to push its Fios wireline high-speed internet service.  Fios TV seems to have been downgraded or even relegated to the scrap heap.

American Customer Satisfaction Index: Subscription Television Service
Image credit: American Customer Satisfaction Index.

In the pay-TV rankings, the fastest declining services (in terms of customers and revenues) scored best in customer satisfaction, according to ASCIDish Network, which lost another 132,000 customers in the first quarter, ranked third with a 65 score (down two points), followed by AT&Ts DirecTV (down two points to 64). Those two satellite TV services were the only pay-TV platforms to see their scores decline.

In sharp contrast, Comcast’s Xfinity TV service saw a six-point, 11% jump to a 63 score, showing the biggest improvement.


Video Streaming/OTT Services: #

In a run-away race, the Disney+ video streaming service, which launched just 11 days after Apple TV+, dethroned 2019 video streaming/content king Netflix, scoring 80 points.

Services were ranking on factors such as mobile app quality, library depth, and call center satisfaction.  Much to the surprise of this author, the average satisfaction of streaming services (at 76) ranks much higher than that of subscription television service (at 64).  While the latter number has improved over last year, the sector “sits at the very bottom of all 46 ACSI-measured industries.”

Apple TV+ scored a “below-average” 74 and in 12th place (see Table below), which was somewhat of a surprise considering Apple’s huge consumer following.  Also, Apple TV+ subscription has been offered free with the purchase of any Apple device.

The biggest decliners were virtual MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors) Sling TV, which dropped three points to finish near the bottom of the rankings with a 71 score, and AT&T TV Now, which also dropped three points to a 72.
https://www.theacsi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=147&catid=&Itemid=212&i=Video+Streaming+Service

ACSI Video Streaming Table.
Image credit: American Customer Satisfaction Index

Note that HBO Go is rated in the table, while HBO Max is too new to be ranked.


In-home WiFi:

The survey also asked about Wi-Fi usage and found that customers using third-party Wi-Fi routers (75) are slightly more satisfied than those who use their ISPs’ equipment (74). For the Wi-Fi quality for those using the latter equipment, Verizon once again leads with 77, followed by Xfinity with 72 and Cox with 71.

Closing Quote:

“With stay-at-home and work-from-home becoming a new normal for many American households, the services offered by major telecommunications companies are more crucial than ever before,”  David VanAmburg, Managing Director at the ACSI, said as part of the release. “Fortunately, many telecom companies laid the groundwork before the pandemic, offering their customers better services compared to last year.”

Author Alan Weissberger

By Alan Weissberger

Alan Weissberger is a renowned researcher in the telecommunications field. Having consulted for telcos, equipment manufacturers, semiconductor companies, large end users, venture capitalists and market research firms, we are fortunate to have his critical eye examining new technologies.

3 replies on “Surprising Findings from the American Customer Satisfaction Index Survey”

Interesting that the streaming TV services rank above the incumbents. In my case, I would probably provide a higher ranking because of the viewer interface as well as the seamless ability to toggle between screens. It is also nice having 6 accounts. With that said, I am surprised that YouTube TV doesn’t have YouTube content integrated into their channel line-up. That seems like it would be a natural.

Thanks Ken. I used to watch streaming video via my AMAZON Fire TV stick, but hardly watch any TV since the pandemic/shelter in place orders. Usually watch a premium channel TV show or a movie. GREATLY MISS LIVE SPORTS WHICH I WATCHED ALL THE TIME prior to the pandemic, especially on the 17 regional sports channels I get via U-verse HD sports package. I still watch the YES network from time to time to see replays of NY Yankee games.

This article was very well composed using research & facts from many sources. Some of the results, such as AT&T Uverse being on top of the perch, were surprising. Also, learning that Sling had fallen some notches as a MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor) was eye opening. Good work by the author!

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