Report: Streamers Slightly More Dissatisfied with Services

(Image credit: ACSI)

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Customer satisfaction with video streaming services is slightly down while satisfaction with pay TV services slightly increased in 2021, the “American Customer Satisfaction Index Telecommunications Study 2020-2021” is reporting. 

The survey found that customer satisfaction with video streaming tumbled 2.6% to a score of 74 on a scale of 0 to 100, according to the study. 

Of the five telecom industries covered in this study – subscription television service, internet service providers (ISPs), landline phone service, video-on-demand service, and video streaming service – subscription TV and landline phones are the only two to enjoy year-over-year gains.

Satisfaction with pay TV providers increased a modest 1.6% to 65% in 2021 compared to 2020 while satisfaction with Internet service providers held steady at 65%.

The 1.6% increase in satisfaction with pay TV providers in 2021 followed a 3.2% increase in satisfaction in 2020, the report noted. 

“With folks resigned to stay at home for the better part of a year and a half, the heavy strain on telecommunications was inevitable,” says David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI. “The large consumption of bandwidth for internet services and countless hours spent streaming videos and movies were sure to impact satisfaction. And it turns out that streaming has taken the biggest hit of all.”

ACSI Telecommunications Study

(Image credit: ACSI Telecommunications Study)

Video streaming remained the customer satisfaction leader among telecom industries despite its current decline. However, its advantage over subscription TV shrank from 12 to 9 points.

Disney was once again the highest rated streaming service at 78, down 2.6% from 2020, followed by Microsoft Store (up 1% to 77), and Amazon’s Twitch (up 1% to 76). 

Netflix’s declines continued for a second year, the survey found. The once top-rated service fell 4% to a score of 75, tying it with four others: Hulu (down 3%), HBO (up 1%), newcomer HBO Max, and YouTube TV (unchanged).

Ironically, AT&T, which has been looking to shed some of its pay TV and media businesses, had the highest satisfaction of any pay TV provider at 74 in 2021, up 6%, for its U-verse TV, followed by Fios (up 1% to 71), DirecTV (up 2% to 66), Dish (up 1% to 66), Comcast (up 3% to 66) and Spectrum (up 5% to 64). 

Customer satisfaction with the video-on-demand services of major cable, satellite, and fiber-optic subscription TV providers fell 1.5% to an ACSI score of 67.

Customer satisfaction with landline phone service inched up 1.4% to an ACSI score of 71.

The ACSI Telecommunications Study 2020-2021 is based on interviews with 37,907 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between April 1, 2020, and March 29, 2021. 

More details on all the streaming services, pay TV providers and ISPs covered by the survey can be found here.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.