Advanced Television

Survey: Americans fed up with their pay-TV service

February 10, 2016

A nationwide survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of TVfreedom – a coalition of local broadcasters, community advocates, network television affiliate associations, multicast networks, manufacturers and other independent broadcaster-related organisations committed to helping protect consumer interests – suggests that most Americans are fed up with their pay-TV service.

The poll of more than 2,000 US adults ages 18+, including more than 1,500 pay-TV subscribers, found that 77 per cent of all respondents believe that pay-TV providers care more about their own profits than ensuring quality service for their customers.

The majority of respondents, when asked which adjectives describe pay-TV providers, chose starkly negative terms, including “Greedy” (52 per cent), “Unpleasant” (22 per cent), or “Heartless” (18 per cent). Additionally, 79 percent of all survey respondents said that monthly DVR/cable box rental fees are too high.

The poll shows that Americans remain very concerned about a host of negligent and indifferent pay-TV practices, including poor service/connection quality issues such as loss of signal or interrupted programming (17 per cent) and complicated billing (10 per cent). Among pay-TV subscribers, 26 per cent report “an unsatisfactory customer service experience with my pay-TV provider”, while nearly one-fifth (18 per cent) acknowledged that they had been mistakenly overcharged by their cable or satellite TV provider.

The overwhelming majority of survey respondents (92 per cent) say that, in the event of network service outages, pay-TV companies should provide impacted customers with rebates on their monthly bills. The survey shows that 66 per cent of respondents have lost cable or satellite TV service in the past two years due to bad weather (52 per cent), system failure (32 per cent) and faulty equipment (27 per cent).

The poll comes as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) weighs possible changes to its rules that require pay TV providers and broadcasters to negotiate carriage deals in ‘good faith’.

“The survey shows that the FCC’s narrow focus on retransmission consent rules is wildly misguided,” said TVfreedom spokesman, Robert C. Kenny. “Instead of rewarding the pay-TV industry for its effort to manufacture a retransmission consent crisis, the FCC should focus on issues truly harming consumers, starting with service outages, excessive rental fees and deplorable customer service that consumers are subjected to every day.”

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