Netflix and other online video services have expanded their customer-satisfaction lead over cable and satellite TV, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) found in its annual telecommunications report released today.
Streaming-video services averaged a score of 76 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale, up from 75 last year.
“For the past six years, customer satisfaction with subscription TV has languished in the mid-to-low 60s, not recovering enough to effectively compete with streaming services,” the ACSI report said. “In 2018, subscription sales declined 3 percent to $103.4 billion. Customer service remains poor, and cord cutting is accelerating. As video-streaming services gain traction, a growing number of households may never subscribe to pay TV in the first place.”
Pay-TV and broadband—two services that are generally offered in bundles by the same companies—each posted an industry average of 62, which is again in “last place among all  industries tracked by the ACSI,” the report said. Pay-TV’s satisfaction score peaked at 68 in 2013 and has dropped steadily since.
Streaming services rated significantly higher than cable and satellite in many categories, including the ease of understanding bills, mobile app quality and reliability, and call-center satisfaction.
Comcast remained near the bottom of pay-TV rankings with a score of 57, while AT&T’s U-verse led the ranking despite dropping from 70 to 69:
Coincidentally, AT&T’s streaming service—DirecTV Now—also fell from 70 to 69. But while the AT&T U-verse TV score of 69 was good enough to lead all cable and satellite TV providers, the DirecTV Now score of 69 was in second-to-last place among streaming providers:
As you can see above, Netflix took the top spot in streaming satisfaction by raising its score from 78 to 79.
“Netﬂix shared the lead with Sony PlayStation Vue and Amazon’s Twitch a year ago, but a 1 percent gain puts Netflix alone in first place—and number one across all five telecom categories [streaming, pay-TV, broadband, landline phones, and on-demand video],” the ACSI report said. “The company has been rolling out original content at an unprecedented rate, which remains among its greatest strengths. According to ACSI data, Netﬂix ranks at the top for original content among all streaming services. In addition, its membership growth continues at a record pace.”
Despite streaming’s big lead over cable and satellite TV, the ACSI said that lower-ranked streaming services have problems, too. “Some of these services aren’t enough of a departure from original cable and satellite offerings in that commercial interruptions abound, prices are high, and customer service is poor,” the ACSI said.
There wasn’t much change in the broadband rankings, with Verizon FiOS and AT&T leading the way while Mediacom and Frontier finished at the bottom:
The ACSI telecommunications report was based on interviews with 38,681 customers chosen at random. In all, the ACSI interviews 300,000 customers a year to track more than 400 companies in 46 industries.