For the last 25 years, economists and statisticians with the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan have collected and published data each year that measure the satisfaction of consumers throughout the U.S. economy. While these data help shine light on the state of the U.S. economy, they also reveal which products and services are consistently ranked as the best. This year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index has just been published and to everyone’s great surprise, cable TV has fallen even farther behind streaming. Why are cable providers even trying anymore?
Well, because over 40% of American households still subscribe to cable TV services. While streaming services are growing steadily, many people are still hanging on to their cable subscriptions in addition to on-demand streaming services. Still, cable can’t hold on for long if its consumer satisfaction ratings keep falling. According to the 2019 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), cable and other traditional subscription TV services rank just 62 out of the ASCI’s 100-point scale. Streaming video services, meanwhile, averaged around 76 on the same scale.
While millions of households might still have cable, ACSI predicts it won’t be much longer until cable subscriptions start to dry up for good. “For the past six years, customer satisfaction with subscription TV has languished in the mid-to-low 60s, not recovering enough to effectively compete with streaming services,” this year’s ACSI report reads. “In 2018, subscription sales declined 3 percent to $103.4 billion. Customer service remains poor, and cord cutting is accelerating. As video-streaming services gain traction, a growing number of households may never subscribe to pay TV in the first place.”
Among streaming video services, Netflix took the top spot of course, with a score of 79. Among live TV streaming services, PlayStation Vue ranks the highest with a 78. Other leaders include Hulu with 76; Amazon Prime Video with 76; YouTube with 75, Sling TV with 74, and DIRECTV NOW with 69 (pre-price hike). Sony Crackle came in last with 68.