Cable Gets Some Love In Customer Survey


Cable companies are doing a
slightly better job at winning over consumers
than they did a year ago.

The four biggest U.S. cable operators
posted notable gains on the annual American
Customer Satisfaction Index ratings,
released last week, as the average score
across all pay TV customers climbed 5%
in the first quarter of 2010.

“It’s a big, meaningful bump up for the
sector,” ACSI managing director David
VanAmburg said. “What this study is suggesting
is that as competition becomes more
meaningful, everyone is stepping up their

Still, cable trailed both satellite and
the telco TV services from Verizon and
AT&T, which were included for the first
time on the ACSI survey. Verizon’s FiOS
TV topped the pay TV category — with a
score of 73 out of a 100-point scale — followed
by AT&T U-verse TV at 72.

Dish Network also stood out, boosting its
score by a whopping seven points, to 71. Direc-
TV, meanwhile, dropped three points from last
year, to 68. According to ACSI, DirecTV’s recent
price increase combined with Dish’s aggressive
pricing promotions “has the two satellite
TV providers moving in opposite directions.”

Cox gained 2% to 67 to lead cable for a seventh
straight year, and while Charter Communications
made the biggest leap — gaining
18% to 60 — it remained in last place. Charter
is now statistically tied with Comcast and
Time Warner Cable, both up 3% to 61.

The survey results showed a three-point
improvement among all TV providers, to an
average of 66, the highest score for the segment
since ACSI began measuring it in 2001.
Last year, the ACSI’s average score for pay TV
services fell 2%, to 63, compared with 2008.

The ACSI had been produced by the University
of Michigan’s Ross School of Business,
but the project was spun off last year
into a standalone company that remains
based in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The ACSI rating for each company is
based on a sample of 250 customer interviews
with more than 65,000 interviews
conducted annually.