Poll: Viewers Have Negative Views Of Pay TV Providers

A new nationwide survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of TV broadcasters’ coalition TVfreedom finds that most Americans are fed up with their pay TV service. The poll of more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18-plus, including more than 1,500 pay TV subscribers, found that 77% 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%), “unpleasant” (22%) or “heartless” (18%). Additionally, 79% of all survey respondents said that monthly DVR/cable box rental fees are too high.

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

The overwhelming majority of survey respondents (92%) 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% of respondents have lost cable or satellite TV service in the past two years due to bad weather (52%), system failure (32%) and faulty equipment (27%).

TVfreedom’s poll comes as the 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.”


Click here to view the survey summary and results; and here to view a survey-related infographic.

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