Telecom & Wireless

This Is What People Like the Most About Video Streaming Services -- And It's Not Binge-Watching

Nearly every household in America has a TV set and most have access to a subscription cable or satellite service. Telephones, either wireline or wireless, are nearly as ubiquitous. And while internet service is available to any household with a phone, service quality varies. If a home has both a TV and an internet connection, chances are good that the home also has at least one streaming video service. Perhaps these technological intrusions into our everyday lives are why they are judged so critically: we depend on them.

As a group, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey results rank these telecommunications services ahead of only government services in customer satisfaction. But there is wide variation in the index scores for each service. The average index score for a group of five telecom services was 62 out of a possible 100, unchanged from the prior year’s results.

ACSI released the results of its 2018-2019 survey Tuesday morning. Video streaming received the highest index score, and subscription TV (cable or satellite) and video-on-demand services received the lowest. David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI, said, “Traditional telecom providers have tried to step up their game, but they’re not providing original content the way video streaming is and it part they suffer guilt by association–if customers aren’t satisfied overall with Comcast, they’re probably going to ding Comcast’s on-demand service too.”

Video streaming companies received the highest average index score, 76 (up one point year over year). Among the services, Netflix ranked at the top with a score of 79 (up one) and Sony PlayStation Vue ranked second with 78 (unchanged). Microsoft Store with a 77 (unchanged) is the only other video service to score above the average. The entry into the market later this year of Disney’s streaming service could shake up the rankings.

Cable and satellite services posted an average index score of 62 in 2019, unchanged from 2018. Since 2001, these subscriptions have scored a high of 68 (2013) and a low of 61 (2002 through 2005). According to the new ACSI report, no aspect of these services improved year over year. The overall call center score was a mere 63, while the best score, a 79 for HD picture quality, was one point lower than a year ago. Note that cable providers were among the companies with the worst reputations in a recent survey.

The brand getting the highest score was AT&T’s U-verse TV with a score of 69, (down one year over year). Verizon’s FiOS TV service with a score of 68 (unchanged) was second, while Dish Network was third at 67, also unchanged from last year’s results.

Among internet service providers (ISPs), Verizon’s FiOS led the pack with a score of 70, (unchanged), followed by AT&T’s U-verse with a 69 (down one). Optimum was third at 63, also a point lower.

The overall average score for ISPs was 62, unchanged year over year, and a low since ACSI began tracking customer satisfaction in the industry in 2013. The score in the first year was 65. Because the cable TV industry is also the leading provider of broadband internet service, it’s no surprise that the scores for the two services match.

Video-on-demand (VoD) is losing customers as cable and satellite customers continue to drop their services in favor of streaming services. Customer satisfaction overall was down a point to 67 this year. Verizon’s FiOS service and AT&T’s U-verse received top scores of 72, with Verizon’s score remaining unchanged year over year and AT&T’s dropping two points. Dish Network also fell two points to finish third with a score of 71.

Fixed-line (or landline) phone service now accounts for only about half of all U.S. household phone service as wireless phones continuing to erode the business. The best landline service isn’t a traditional one either. Vonage, a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) provider, gets top marks here with a score of 77, (up one year over year). Verizon’s landline service added a point to finish second with a score of 73, and AT&T finished third with a 72 (unchanged). Call center satisfaction among this group jumped by three points to 67. Other telecoms were included on ASCI’s list of America’s most hated companies.

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