EchoStar Slips But Still Tops Survey


EchoStar Communications Corp. led the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index ranking of cable and satellite companies for a second consecutive year, but rankings for both EchoStar and rival DirecTV Inc. fell from last year.

EchoStar scored a 68 during the first quarter on the index, down 4.2% from 71 during the first quarter of 2004.

DirecTV, which placed second with a score of 67, saw its score dip 5.6% from the 71 it scored during the same period last year.

Cox Communications Inc. (63) was the top-rated cable company, followed by Time Warner Cable and “all other” cable companies (59); Comcast Corp. (58); and Charter Communications Inc. (56).

Comcast saw its customer-satisfaction-index score increase 3.6% compared with the first quarter of 2004, while Time Warner increased its score by 1.7% during the period.

“The competitive landscape may be changing for the cable- and satellite-TV industry. First measured in 2001, satellite has consistently bested cable by a wide margin,” University of Michigan professor Claes Fornell wrote in a commentary about the index.

“In fact, satellite companies have led cable by an average of 11 ACSI points each year,” he added. “But this year, both DirecTV’s and EchoStar’s ACSI scores weakened significantly, falling to their lowest ever.”