updated 09:00 pm EDT, Tue August 6, 2013
Ranking proves again that value of experience can trump content
A study done by customer experience research firm ForeSee has surveyed customers of mobile media and entertainment sites and found that generally, customers are more satisfied with such services than they were a year ago: the average score was 77 out of 100, compared to 67 a year ago. In the streaming TV and movies category, Apple's iTunes squeaked out a surprise win over competitors such as Netflix and HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle and Hulu Plus. The study also found that customers were much more satisfied with home Internet service than cellular data.
When asked about their satisfaction with the quality and reliability of their home Internet connection for streaming movies or TV, consumers gave it a score of 78, compared to just 73 for using public Wi-Fi for the same uses. The study found that reliability and performance of streaming sites was the main driver of satisfaction, and thus Foresee gave partial credit for the high score to Apple's tendency to pre-download a portion of the video before letting customers view it, thus helping to ensure a smooth stream for the duration of the program.
While those surveyed preferred consuming media and entertainment websites and apps using mobile devices, the study showed they also wanted premium content, fast page loads and reliable playback -- factors they were more likely to find on their home Internet connection. In the streaming movies and TV category, Apple's score of 80 for iTunes was just ahead of the 79 scored by HBO Go and Netflix, each with 79. Amazon Instant Video was just behind, matching the average score of 78, while Crackle and Hulu Plus were the lowest-scoring services, sharing a 75 rating. Apple's score was the highest among any company in the study, which looked at 22 news, entertainment and sports streaming sites.
Though the Movies & TV category scored an average of 78, that was tied with Foresee's findings on mobile satisfaction with retail apps (78) and slightly above the ratings for sports mobile sites (77), which was shared with travel and financial-service sites. News organizations' mobile apps and sites also scored an aggregate 77 rating. With news sites, trust was a big factor in customer satisfaction, with only 20 percent of those surveyed saying they could trust the content from news mobile sites or apps.
"These mobile benchmark scores suggest there is much work to be done," commented ForeSee CEO Larry Freed. "Companies see the opportunity and they are trying to move fast, but they must be sure to do things the right way to meet the expectations of customers or risk turning them away to competitors." One of the biggest surprises in the survey was that more than half of those using "mobile" apps or websites for news, sports and entertainment are in fact accessing them from home, compared to just nine percent who say they actually access those services "on the go."
This may suggest that smartphone and tablet use isn't just limited to outside-the-home use and both devices may be a part of a home's entertainment system thanks to innovations like AirPlay, which is used in the iPhone and iPad. While some may scoff at the idea of renting an HD movie to watch on an iPhone, the ability of the device to "throw" the signal over to an Apple TV and thus a big-screen device makes the small-screened smartphone simply a "receiver" for the download rather than the end point in many cases.
Most survey respondents said they used mobile sites more than apps for their news, sports or entertainment choices (66 to 34 percent), but app users reported a higher satisfaction level (78 versus 76 percent). Sixty-six percent said they had used a smartphone for their last mobile media and entertainment experience compared to 35 percent who used a tablet.