Can cable companies drop any further in public esteem?

It’s been a month since the two cable industry leaders announced their intention to form a single company. Now, Comcast and Time Warner, as well as the rest of the industry, remain lodged at the bottom of consumer approval ratings. Or, as a Bloomberg headline says, “Comcast Joins Time Warner Cable in Consumer Reports Doghouse.”

Bloomberg and many other news outlets are reporting on a Consumers Reports poll which queried over 80,000 users of TV, Internet and phone plans. Not only do the companies rank very low for customer service and value, but they run counter to trends in other high-tech sectors. Glenn Derene, Consumer Reports electronics editor, said, “Everything else in consumer technology is getting more affordable every year – everything except communications services.”

Comcast and Time Warner ranked 15th and 16th out of 17 providers, beating only Mediacom. Things are better for the two big fiber providers, though. According to one report on the poll, “Verizon’s FiOS was near the top of the rankings in every category, while AT&T Inc.’s U-verse was in the middle of the pack.”

In a separate poll, Reuters/Ipsos found that those opposed to the Comcast/Time Warner merger outnumber supporters by more than 2 to 1. Of the 1368 Americans polled online:

“... 52 percent of those surveyed believed that mergers such as the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal result in less competition and are bad for consumers, while 22 percent believe they allow cable and internet providers to be more efficient and provide better service to consumers.” At the same time, 28 percent stated that they still don’t know enough about the merger to offer an opinion.

Nevertheless, it’s easy to see that a substantial number of Americans think that cable companies should improve their services, and price them more fairly, before they go asking the public to approve risky ventures like the Comcast/Time Warner merger. Speed Matters agrees.

Comcast Joins Time Warner Cable in Consumer Reports Doghouse (Bloomberg, Mar. 25, 2014)

Comcast Joins Time Warner Cable in Consumer Reports Doghouse
(Newsmax Money News, Mar. 26, 2014)

Americans take dim view of Comcast, Time Warner Cable deal
(Reuters, Mar. 26, 2014)