Streaming Services Far Exceed Traditional Cable in Customer Satisfaction

from the ain't-competition-grand dept

There's just something about terrible customer service, high prices, and sketchy quality product that consumers oddly don't like. American consumers' dislike of traditional cable TV providers was once again made clear this week in a study by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which, as its name implies, tracks US consumer approval of companies on a 100 point scale. As has long been the case, the full report shows most traditional cable TV, satellite, or IPTV providers languishing somewhere in the mid 60s -- scores that are bested by a long line of industries and government agencies (including the IRS).

Not too surprisingly, the report shows that American consumers far prefer streaming video alternatives, which provide them with lower costs and greater package flexibility. According to the ACSI, streaming services scored significantly higher than traditional TV, phone, broadband, video on demand, and wireless providers:

"Video streaming services are the top performers for customer satisfaction among the five telecom industries. Competition is likely to spur further improvement, with both Disney and Apple expected to release inexpensive streaming services later this year. Netflix gains 1% to secure first place at 79—and number one across all five telecom categories—after sharing the lead with Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Amazon Twitch last year. As its membership growth continues at a record pace, ACSI data show Netflix ranks at the top for original content among all streaming services."

The report's infographic makes the point clearer still:

Of course that's a major reason for the slow, steady exodus of cord cutters from traditional TV to streaming services or over the air antennas, the rate of which continues to accelerate. Streaming companies are actually trying to compete on things like price, which, with a few exceptions, still isn't something the traditional cable and broadcast industry is particularly interested in. Many sector executives spent the last decade pretending that this shift toward streaming was some kind of temporary fluke that would just magically dissipate.

As a result two sectors -- Pay-TV and broadband -- both had average satisfaction scores in the mid-sixties, the last place of all the industries the ACSI tracks. When you consider that includes the airline, banking, and insurance industries, that's no small feat.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: customer satisfaction, streaming, tv

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2019 @ 12:16pm

    Unfortunately, cable companies seem to be raising broadband prices to make up for the decline in cable TV subs. I wish CenturyLink would invest in fiber in my area as DSL just isn't the same as coax/fiber.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 23 May 2019 @ 1:15pm


      Despite broadband costs staying steady, my ISP Spectrum keeps jacking up the price. Because it can.

      That is how capitalism is supposed to work - right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 May 2019 @ 5:06am

    OF course streaming services are better than cable tv,
    in that you get what you pay for ,
    many cable tv deals include sports channels and lifestyle channels that most people will never watch.
    You can just pay for netflix or film streaming services and get just what you want to watch at a lower price than cable tv.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 May 2019 @ 5:49am

    Such a fallacy

    There’s nothing new here because streamers are still paying the same cable companies/ISPs that they would be paying if they were doing traditional cable TV. The cable companies will simply raise their rates, as will the streaming companies.
    We need true disruption; we need more ISPs & more content providers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 24 May 2019 @ 7:07am

    While it's good to see it happening and I won't shed a tear if all cable companies die I'm concerned with fragmentation in the streaming area due to copyright idiocy. I've already seen people moving back to piracy because of exclusivity of content.

    This brought me back to some discussions I've had (and that I've seen here on TD) about making copyright a kind of pool where you price your content and everybody will need to pay the exact same amount, no discrimination, if they want to make said content available in their platform. Including yourself if you own one. The money is then distributed accordingly. Because in the end it's not the quality of the service that dictates which streaming service you will pay for, it's goddamn content. Much like the gaming space where I had to use that crap ubisoft put online to play a game I purchased (because of it I pirated the cracked version and never ever bought anything else from ubisoft by the way).

    Of course you can always go without but seriously this shouldn't happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 24 May 2019 @ 2:16pm


    Anyone remember Hulu being free..
    I loved watching the Corps battle Themselves, over HOW to get/setup things on the internet..
    Hulu had to deal with all these corps and contracts of HOW/WHEN/WHERE/... of when they could have commercials and this that and the other things. wonderful MOST times as Some of the companies have figured a few things out, including ROKU who has their own channel, now, WITH LIMITED Commercials of 2-3 30sec commercials about every 15 min. Many others Stick to the TV/Cable style of every 10 min, and upto 5 that last as long as they want..
    The SCFI channel and others that were on HULU kept trying to create their OWN site, and when 1,000,000 hit your Site at 1 time, CRASHED..
    And after 15 years, they started gettign the idea...BUT..
    We have Every Channel, not 1 of the 7 MAIN CORPS, all trying to create their OWN sites around the net, ALL trying to get that $10 per month...When cable was charging PENNIES..
    All of them are pulling their Programming BACK to the Main sites they created.
    Its a real PAIN, that we Pay for ISP, then PAY again to connect to EACH individual service at prices that WERE NOT being charged.

    Every wonder if they will get the hint(?) that charging $1 per month will get MORE people to pay, then charging $10 Per family and having Less people watch the Crap they have??

    Hulu, Crackle, Netflix, and a few others are doing great things, by Creating THEIR OWN CONTENT.. And much of it better then whats on TV..
    The TV/movie corps have had fun, back and forth, on HOW/WHEN to release for Public viewing the New movies and series tot he NET..AND ITS BITING THEM IN THE BUT.
    Its the idea of how many people can you get in a theater, or Charge $1 to watch from the internet..

    the interesting thing about Some of this, its the ISP and the NET companies are still having a War. Are the Big ISP's going to install enough NET access to create their OWN services? I dont think they understand this to well.. its NOT a winning proposition, unless you can get ALL the industry to use YOUR service, Not just the Stuff you buy/Pay LEASE prices for.. because the movie industry Will Shoot you in the foot and Force you to raise prices. Which will kill you.

    There is abit more, but i hope some of you know about World wide distributions and which corps are trying to control this.

    Good luck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)


Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.