Consumers Like Streaming, But Sticking With Pay TV: J.D Power

Number of subscribers planning to cut cord drops
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Consumers like streaming services, but usually not enough to drop their traditional pay TV subscriptions, according to new J.D. Power satisfaction surveys.

Overall consumer satisfaction with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu improved slightly to a 7.91 score on a 10-point scale, according to J.D. Power. Satisfaction with the performance and reliability of the streaming services also edged up to 7.97.

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Satisfaction with traditional pay TV services fell to 710 (on a 1,000) point scale, from 724 last year.

Despite the divergence between streaming and pay TV, fewer consumers told Powers they plan to cut the cord on pay TV than a year ago. In the latest survey 8% said they planned to drop pay TV service in the next 12 months, compared with 9% in the 2016 survey.

Powers also found that despite the popularity using of video-on-demand and DVR to time-shift favorite shows, the number of hours spent watching regularly scheduled TV programs has increased nearly an hour over the past two year, growing from 17.4 hours in a typical week from 16.6 hours in 2015.

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“Although it seems like the world is consumed with idea of cord-cutting in the wake of Hulu’s first Emmy and the proliferation of new shows on Netflix and Amazon, the number of current pay TV customers who plan to cut the cord has actually declined, and the number of hours spent watching old-fashioned, time-slot television is growing,” said Peter Cunningham, technology, media and telecommunications practice lead at J.D. Power. “We’re seeing a trend toward the co-existence of traditional and alternative service providers, with each offering some lessons to the other on how best to drive an increase in customer satisfaction.”

Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale won a hatful of Emmys this month.

Among traditional television service providers, AT&T-DirecTV got the highest marks with a 731 score on a national basis.

Nearly two-thirds of consumer surveyed said they watch content from their service provider using a mobile app. But only 6% say they watch via mobile on a daily basis. Overall satisfaction with pay TV providers increases with the frequency that customers use a mobile app to view content from that provider, Powers said.

Consumers complaining about billing errors have decreased over the past five years. The biggest billing complaint is about hidden fees. But among customers who have received a credit or refund for a billing error, satisfaction scores are slightly higher than for customers who didn’t experience a billing error.