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How Screwed Up Is the U.S. Pay TV Biz? U-verse TV, Which AT&T Doesn’t Even Sell Anymore, Ranks No. 1 in Customer Satisfaction

AT&T U-verse
(Image credit: AT&T)

AT&T stopped selling new subscriptions to one its several legacy pay TV services, U-verse TV, in April of 2020. But according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index ranking of telecom services, U-verse TV is the top-rated U.S. pay TV platform, improving its score by an impressive 6% in the 12 months since the ASCI published its last report. 

So the U.S. pay TV business, which is currently in free fall, is sunsetting its most well-received product? If not for the involvement of AT&T, that would not make sense. 

Notably, AT&T’s other linear pay TV service, satellite TV platform DirecTV, saw its score improve by 3% and placed No. 3 in ASCI’s pay TV services ranking with a 66 score, eight points lower than U-verse. 

U-Verse also ranked No. 1 in terms of its VOD component, and AT&T was also named the top customer satisfaction generator for both wireline internet and landline telephone services. 

In February, AT&T reached an agreement with private equity firm TPG Capital to spin off its entire U.S. subscription video unit, which includes U-verse TV, DirecTV and the newer IP-based AT&T TV. These three services, which AT&T combines under the heading “premium TV” on its balance sheets, lost a combined 620,000 subscribers in the first quarter … some of them presumably satisfied.

ASCI didn’t include AT&T TV in its rankings. However, in ASCI's ranking of streaming video services—which Next TV sibling pub Broadcasting & Cable wrote about Tuesday morning— placed AT&T TV Now near the bottom. Skinny bundled streaming service AT&T TV Now operated on the same technology platform as AT&T TV and was recently subsumed by AT&T TV. 

Also notable: Ranking No. 1 in customer satisfaction for U.S. linear pay TV services was Fios TV, a platform Verizon has seemingly given up on amid its current fixation with 5G buildout. 

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.

American Customer Satisfaction index - pay TV 2021

(Image credit: ASCI)

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!