Digital-Cable Subs More Satisfied


Digital-cable subscribers rated their perceptions of their cable operators
more highly than analog-cable customers, according to an independent survey of
1,200 U.S. households by Leichtman Research Group Inc.

LRG president Bruce Leichtman said that while digital-cable customers pay an
average of $16 more per month than their analog-cable counterparts, they're more
likely to see their cable companies as innovators and more likely to be
satisfied with the choice of channels available to them.

Advances in digital cable over the past several years helped to boost
satisfaction levels, Leichtman said.

'The digital cable of three years ago is not the digital cable of today,' he
added, noting that some initial digital-cable offers started as stopgap measures
to bring 40-channel offers to 80 channels.

'Not everybody is going to be a digital subscriber,' Leichtman warned, noting
that about one-half of cable customers today don't have set-top boxes, whether
analog or digital.

And digital-cable satisfaction still trails direct-broadcast satellite
subscriber satisfaction, he added.

DBS customers were more likely to respond positively to a statement that
their provider charges reasonable rates. DBS far outscored both digital- and
analog-cable customers when it came to pricing perception.