Is your TV provider a hit or miss? What the ACSI scores for 2020 have to say

Taylor Gadsden

Aug 20, 2020 — 3 min read

The scores are in! See how your TV provider compares to the competition and what industry trends we’re predicting for next year.

Image of a man watching TV

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Each of us has their own pleasures and pain points when it comes to our TV service provider. What happens when it’s time to make a change? How can a potential subscriber know how current customers feel about their TV provider’s service?

That’s where the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) excels.  It’s the country’s only cross-industry measure of customer approval. If you’re reconsidering your TV provider, or perhaps just curious how your current one stacks up, check out our ACSI TV providers rankings recap and see how the TV industry as a whole is faring compared to services like internet and streaming

Top 5 TV providers based on customer satisfaction

Subscription TV service provider rankings for 2020

COVID-19 has drastically changed the way subscribers are experiencing and utilizing their home services, and this change has caused a ripple effect throughout the internet and TV service industries as well. Both received their first score boosts in four years. That said, the improvement still puts both industries at the bottom of the 46 evaluated.

Subscription TV service as a whole scored a 64/100, up 3.2% from 2019’s score of 62. In addition, nine of 11 providers saw increases in their scores from previous year, with the win for “Most improved provider” going to Xfinity (Comcast) (up 11% since 2019).

Fiber takes all

Fiber providers like Verizon Fios and AT&T’s U-verse TV lead the pack, similar to previous years. Both providers have held the top two spots since 2015. Most notably, Verizon Fios has earned the highest marks for numerous benchmarks, including HD and SD picture quality, a known benefit of fiber-optic service. AT&T’s recent termination of U-verse service and subsequent replacement with AT&T TV should shake things up for future rankings.

Second-tier satellite

Scoring about 5 points below the top TV providers are a few popular satellite TV companies. Both DISH and DIRECTV dropped by a 3% margin. The biggest concerns with DISH include staff courtesy and service speed, while DIRECTV’s loss seems to coincide with a mass exodus of subscribers that the provider has seen in the past year.

How are TV providers ranked?

ACSI rankings are about as reliable as they come. The institution has been analysing and collecting data on the TV service market for almost two decades. Hundreds of subscribers are interviewed each year on their experience with either cable, fiber-optic or satellite TV service. The following benchmarks are evaluated to propose a final score and ranking:

  • Standard picture quality
  • HD (High Definition) picture quality
  • TV signal reliability
  • Interruptions/outages
  • Range of channels
  • Premium channels
  • Remotes, on-screen menus and program guides
  • Understanding the bill
  • Store/service center staff courtesy and helpfulness
  • Store/service center transaction speed
  • Quality of mobile app
  • Reliability of mobile app
  • Call center
  • Website

2020 trends in the TV service industry

For traditional TV subscribers, service has only gotten slightly better or has not changed at all from the previous year. Overall, customers find that providers are doing a better job of keeping outages at bay, but still feel there’s room for improvement. 

The rapid addition of new streaming services in just the past year alone has given the subscription TV industry new standards to match. When compared to competing video streaming services, subscribers are looking for improvements in their premium channel offerings and their standard range of channels. 

Cord shaver is better than cord never

ACSI data also showed that cord shavers (those with less expensive TV service with the addition of streaming) and cord stackers (those with both subscription TV and streaming services) tend to be the most satisfied groups overall. Cord nevers, a younger audience that reports never having subscription TV service, are a growing demographic but tend to score lower in satisfaction than other groups. Cord nevers scored a 73/100 while cord stackers and shavers scored a 76.

The future of TV

As many subscribers are working (and entertaining themselves) from home, we expect to see an increase in the cord stacker and cord shaver audiences. More viewers are considering standard TV service as a component of their overall entertainment as opposed to a direct source. As consumers continue to mix and match services, satisfaction scores between the subscription TV and video streaming industries should fluctuate in the coming years. 

Looking for more news on your home service providers? See more research and updates when you bookmark our Resource Center

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Taylor Gadsden

Written by:

Taylor Gadsden

Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content

Taylor is a veteran member of the Allconnect content team and has spearheaded a number of projects, including a data piece on the top fiber cities in the U.S. and a troubleshooting guide … Read more