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Cable Companies Continue to Struggle with Home Security Offers

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September 8, 2014
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Cable Companies Continue to Struggle with Home Security Offers

We call them the “New Entrants” – the cable and telco providers (Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, AT&T) who have jumped with both feet into the residential security industry with bundled offers that include home alarm services. We can see they are not having an easy time of it, and understand that they are all well behind on reaching their forecasted sales goals.

You may remember a prior reference in this blog to a survey done by the Consumer Electronics Association, in which it was found that only one third of cable subscribers would trust their cable company to provide reliable home security. It seems that when entertainment service is that bad, the last thing consumers want is to entrust their homes and families to Comcast, Cox, or Time Warner. And according to a recent study, the cable and phone companies are still held in low regard.

Professional security companies proudly point to the good service they give consumers as an important differentiator between them and their giant cableco and telecom competitors. And a new consumer satisfaction survey suggests they don’t have to worry about losing that edge to the Cable Guy anytime soon—because it shows new dips for Time Warner Cable and Comcast, and AT&T and DIRECTV don’t fare too well, either.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index released its annual measure of the communications industries this week. The ACSI report measures consumer satisfaction in such categories as Internet service providers (ISPs), subscription TV service, fixed-line and wireless telephone service, computer software and cellphones, according to a news release. Ratings are done on a 100-point scale.

The Results are In

“Customer satisfaction is deteriorating for all of the largest pay TV providers. Viewers are much more dissatisfied with cable TV service than fiber optic and satellite service (60 vs. 68). Though both companies drop in customer satisfaction, DIRECTV (-4 percent) and AT&T (-3 percent) are tied for the lead with ACSI scores of 69. Verizon Communications FiOS (68) and DISH Network (67) follow.”

AT&T Buying DirecTV

AT&T’s and DIRECTV’s dips in customer satisfaction are of particular note because I just wrote about how AT&T’s $48.5 billion plan to buy DirecTV could impact Digital Life—AT&T home security/home automation offering—and the security industry. Hmmm…a dip in customer satisfaction regarding any part of those companies’ businesses doesn’t seem like a positive—especially if they want to bundle services!

Comcast Buying Time Warner

There’s also a $45 billion pending deal for Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable. Both of those companies have home security/home automation offerings, but they’re not making customers very happy, at least when it comes to TV and Internet service, according to ACSI. “Cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable have the most dissatisfied customers. Comcast falls 5 percent to 60, while Time Warner registers the biggest loss and plunges 7 percent to 56, its lowest score to date,” the news release said.

It’s been intriguing to watch alarm industry pundits debate the impact of the cable and telco providers as they struggle to enter the home security space. Some larger alarm companies – ADT notably among them – point to competitors like Comcast as a reason for their own lackluster top line growth in subscribers. But some alarm companies are able to compete successfully against these new entrants every day.

When you decide to focus on protecting your home and family, make sure you work with a “real” alarm company that is focused on providing alarm services, and has a track record of happy customers to prove it. There are plenty of choices, and the good alarm companies are offering the same (or better) interactive monitoring services and home automation features that new entrants like Comcast are advertising. And make sure you read all the reviews you can find – they’ll tell the story. Your peace of mind is worth it.

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September 17, 2014 at 9:18 AM
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