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Study: Satisfaction Rates Higher For TV Services

10/07/2009 12:55:05 PM Eastern

Westlake Village, Calif. - A new J.D.
Power and Associates
study on 2009 U.S. residential television service
satisfaction found a considerable increase in customer satisfaction levels with
service providers from a year ago.

The firm found overall satisfaction averages 632 on a
1,000-point scale, up 23 points from 609 in 2008.

Last year's numbers marked the lowest industry average
in the past five years, J.D. Power said.

"In the wake of receding satisfaction scores in 2008,
improvements in product performance and the service surrounding it this year
suggest that providers are eager to better position themselves to retain and
grow their customer bases," stated Frank Perazzini, J.D. Power and Associates
telecommunications director. "For instance, average time on hold required to
resolve a customer's most recent problem has declined 13 percent from 2008 to
nine minutes, five seconds, this year. Additionally, fewer customers are
experiencing outages, with 11 percent reporting an outage in 2009, compared with
15 percent in 2008."

The 2009 U.S. Residential Television Service
Satisfaction Study was conducted in January, March and July 2009 and was based
on responses from 28,118 U.S. households evaluating the service of cable,
satellite or IPTV providers.

The study covered the East, North Central, West and
South segments of the country, and focused on five satisfaction factors:
performance and reliability, customer service, cost of service, billing, and
offerings and promotions.

The positive impact of these changes has also driven
an improvement in intention to recommend television service providers, according
to the study.

Among satellite TV customers, 78 percent said they
"definitely will" or "probably will" recommend their provider to others, up 6
percentage points from 2008.

Sixty percent of cable customers said the same, which
was up 5 percentage points from a year ago.

"Despite an improvement in recommendation rates, there
isn't a corresponding increase in loyalty," said Perazzini. "In fact, the
percentage of cable customers affirming their loyalty to their provider has
declined to 25 percent in 2009, from 27 percent in 2008. Satellite providers
have experienced a similar decline with a loyalty rate of 40 percent in 2009 - a
4-percentage-point drop from 2008."

Perazzini said the economy is influencing customers to
keep their options open, even if they are satisfied with their current provider.
To counter the trend, he recommended "providers continue to enhance the service
improvements offered this year, and to remain competitive from a cost and
offerings perspective."

According to the study, AT&T
U-verse
ranked highest in the West (with an index score of 721) and South
(718) regions for the second straight year. In the East region, Verizon FiOS ranked highest for a second consecutive year,
scoring 714, while Wow! ranked highest in the North Central Region, with 724.

The study also found that the number of cable
customers who subscribe to additional premium channels has declined to 29
percent in 2009, from 32 percent in 2008.

The number of customers using video-on-demand and
pay-per-view services declined two percentage points to 33 percent from last
year. Similarly, 16 percent reported using pay-per-view, compared with 18
percent in 2008.

"It appears the economy has had an impact on the use
of additional video services in 2009," said Perazzini. "However, while there has
been some belt-tightening regarding most additional services, DVR usage has
risen 22 percentage points, to 40 percent, this year as more households utilize
this tool to shift the view time for their preferred free
programming."