One in 5 pay-TV customers unsatisfied with service, survey finds

Just like The Replacements in their 1984 LP classic "Let It Be," pay-TV customers had trouble looking into the eyes of Parks Associates researchers and telling them, "I'm satisfied."

Twenty percent of U.S. pay-TV customers reported dissatisfaction with their service in a recent Parks Associates survey.

The figure represents a 100% increase since early 2013, when another Parks survey also revealed that 57% of pay-TV customers were “very satisfied” with their service. 

In Parks’ latest tally, only one-third of pay-TV users looked the research company in the eye and said, “I’m satisfied.” 

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The Parks data comes after Leichtman Research Group released figures Thursday showing the U.S. linear pay-TV business lost about 1,640,000 subscribers in 2016, compared to a loss of about 980,000 in 2015.

“High satisfaction with pay TV has dropped across all providers,” said Brett Sappington, senior director of research for Parks Associates, in a statement. “Telco services have seen the highest drop in highly satisfied customers compared to cable and satellite providers. The plummeting satisfaction levels ultimately affect service/channel package upgrades, cord cutting, engagement and perception of operator-driven service changes (e.g., dropped or added channels).

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“The pay-TV industry continues to experience worldwide growth, but the North American market is experiencing a decline in penetration,” Sappington added. “A combination of factors, including high monthly fees and a wide selection of OTT services, are pushing consumers away from traditional pay TV. Operators are now adjusting their strategies to address this new environment, including partnering with OTT video services or launching their own independent OTT services. Our research also shows that promotional options, including free or subsidized CPE, could entice potential cord cutters or cord shavers to keep their services.”