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Flexible billing, reliable and pleasant service drive customer satisfaction for SVOD services

by Brice Longnos | May 30, 2018

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) LLC published its annual ACSI Telecommunications Report this month. Legacy pay television (e.g., cable, satellite, IPTV) ranks lowest in 2017 among 46 industry segments covered with an ASCI score of 62, an 11-year low and 3.1% drop from 2016. In comparison, video streaming services and video-on-demand services, which are new to the ACSI this year, scored 75 and 68 respectively. In the ASCI categorization, video streaming services include both subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services and vMVPDs while video-on-demand services include operators’ VOD offerings.

With the exception of AT&T’s U-verse and DISH (unchanged at 70 and 67), all other pay TV operators saw a dip in customer satisfaction. While historically, pay TV has been the least liked industries among American customers; low cost SVOD services and vMVPDs are setting customers’ expectations higher and further fuelling discontent.

In the video streaming category, DIRECTV NOW trailed all vMVPDs with a score of 70, versus an industry average 75, but was still way ahead of legacy pay TV providers overall (62) and DIRECTV (64) and on par with U-verse (70). Among vMVPDs, PS VUE scored best with a 78, while Sling got a 71.

Despite having a higher customer satisfaction score than DIRECTV NOW, PS Vue trails in one critical category – subscribers. As of 1Q 2018 DIRECTV Now had 1.46M subscribers, trailing only Sling TV with 2.30M subscribers. In comparison, PS Vue had an estimated 679K subscribers. Given their respective growth rates, DIRECTV NOW should overtake Sling TV as the largest vMVPD in the U.S. in 3Q 2019.

Exhibit 1: Customer Satisfaction, by Attribute

While satisfaction for operators’ VOD offerings is higher than their legacy, linear offerings, OTT players are leading in most of the consumer satisfaction metrics.

  • Most importantly, no contract-billing, slick website UI and overall reliability are the biggest gaps, after of course, call center satisfaction.
  • Customer satisfaction for screen menus and programming guides is marginally better with streaming player, reflecting consumers’ comfort with traditional grid guides.
  • On the other hand though, legacy services still hold strong in terms of their content offering, beating streaming players despite heavy investments in original programming led by Netflix and Amazon.
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