DIRECTV NOW Wins 'The Least Satisfying Video Streaming Service' Award

Here’s a shocker - DIRECTV NOW subscribers seem to be the most unsatisfied of the main paid-for streaming services.

This is based on the new ACSI Telecommunications Report 2018-2019 by the The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

As the name suggests, the Index looks at customer satisfaction in a number of areas and one of those areas is video streaming.

The report looks to quantify the results and make comparisons by using a 100-point scale where the closer to 100, the more satisfied customers are thought to be.

In DIRECTV NOW’s case, the AT&T-owned service scored 69. The Index notes this represents a drop of one-percent compared to last year.

It also happens to place DIRECTV NOW at the bottom of the major video streaming services with the only exception being Crackle (68). Although Crackle is a free service unlike DIRECTV NOW.

To highlight how this fares compared to the rest, CBS All Access, Vudu and YouTube (inclusive of YouTube TV) all scored 75. This puts them just ahead of Sling TV with a score of 74.

In spite of the DISH Network-owned Sling TV being lower than the rest, the Index did note Sling TV was actually “the most improved” service year-over-year as it gained 4-percent this year.

The 74 score also places Sling TV on equal footing with HBO.

Moving further up the satisfaction ranks and we come to Hulu (inclusive of + live TV) and Amazon’s Prime Video who both scored 76.

Beating out both of those services was Sony’s PlayStation Vue with a score of 78.

Last year PlayStation Vue actually topped the ranks (along with Netflix). Technically nothing has changed for PlayStation Vue as its score is the same as last year. However, Netflix gained an additional 1-percent this year which takes it new score up to 79 and places it as the service customers seem to be the most satisfied with.

Removing the other services for a moment and just honing on the live TV services for clarity, this puts the order as follows: PlayStation Vue, Hulu (although also includes standard Hulu), YouTube (also includes main YouTube), Sling TV, and then DIRECTV NOW.

For reference, 75 is considered the industry standard for video streaming services so arguably any of the companies and brands mentioned here that scored below 75 could be considered to be performing below the industry standard.

The updated ratings also included the Microsoft Store (77), Apple iTunes (76), Google Play and Twitch (75), Starz (72), and SHOWTIME (71).

Of course these figures do not exactly tally with change in subscriber numbers seen in the past year as Hulu and YouTube have both outperformed the rest with Hulu now understood to only be second to Sling TV when it comes to live TV.

While Sling TV has remained top so far this year, its growth has dropped considerably. Still, this has proved to be better than DIRECTV NOW who has not only seen a halt to its growth, but has seen a significant number of customers leaving in the last six months, moving the service down the subscriber count ranks.

Something AT&T expects to continue in the current quarter and something the company is not unhappy with as it looks to ‘clean up’ its customer base.

Some of the changes that might have contributed to the DIRECTV NOW customer exodus of 2019, and possibly also the further drop in customer satisfaction noted by the Index, is the increase in price as well as the decline in the number of channels on offer.

DIRECTV NOW opted to make these two important changes at the exact same time which seemed to add to the situation. For example, YouTube TV also upped its prices recently (and to the same level as DIRECTV NOW) but it made sure to add channels in the process.

A move which helped to soften the blow with YouTube TV advocating that although you now pay more, you also now get more. In contrast, AT&T used the argument that it was streamlining the channel lineup to offer more of a quality service.

By “quality,” AT&T actually meant channels it owns.

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About the Author
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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]