Despite the growing talk about pay TV cord cutting, providers can feel OK — not great — about consumer attitudes toward them, according to the latest annual measure from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Subscribers gave cable, satellite, and telco video providers the highest overall satisfaction score ACSI has seen in the 13 years it has measured the public’s feelings about subscription TV. The score of 68 is up 3% vs last year, which ACSI calls “a glimmer of good news.” Even so, researchers say that pay TV remains “among the lowest-scoring industries” they study. Annual price hikes of 6% or so and “sporadic reliability” keep the group just slightly ahead of airlines (67) and Internet service providers (65) but well behind TV and video players/recorders (86), soft drinks (84) and autos and light vehicles (83). (Internet news and information services also come out ahead at 73.) Consumer attitudes vary widely by provider. Time Warner Cable took it on the chin with an industry-low score of 60, down 5% from 2012. Moving up we see Comcast (63, +3%), Charter (64, +8%) and Cox (65, +3%). Satellite and telco video providers scored highest with Verizon FiOS leading (73, -1%) followed by DirecTV (72, +6%), AT&T U-verse (71, +4%) and Dish Network (70, +1%).Companies can’t take comfort from the scores for their broadband offerings. This is the first time ACSI has measured consumer views for these services, and providers collectively scored 65 due to unhappiness with high costs, lack of reliability and varying speeds. Comcast was the low scorer here (62), followed by Time Warner Cable (63), CenturyLink (64), Charter (65), AT&T U-verse (65), Cox (68) and Verizon FiOS (71). ACSI data come from interviews with about 70,000 consumers a year. The group says that its consumer satisfaction scores help economists to detect trends in consumer spending and GDP growth.
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