Research: US cable subs more price sensitive

US consumers are less satisfied with their monthly pay-TV bills compared with last year, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ annual TV customer-satisfaction service survey – and cable subscribers are more likely to feel ‘ripped off’ than telco or satellite TV customers.

The average satisfaction rating for the cost of pay-TV prices fell 2.5 per cent on the research firm’s study, from 555 on a 1,000-point scale last year to 541 in 2010. At the same time, overall customer satisfaction with television service providers was essentially unchanged, with an average score of 629 in 2010 (down three points from 632 last year).

About 74 per cent of customers who say they “definitely” or “probably” will switch TV providers in the next year cite price as a major factor, the survey found. The takeaway, according to J.D. Power director of telecommunications Frank Perazzini, is that TV providers must “better communicate their price-value proposition, as customers are increasingly voicing irritation with the amount of their monthly bill.”

Cable operators were rated much lower on satisfaction with the value of the service, a phenomenon attributable in part to their incumbent status versus competitors. The cable TV average for satisfaction on cost was 22 per cent lower than for telco services – AT&T U-verse TV and Verizon FiOS TV – and 18 per cent lower than satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network.

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