J.D. PowerCustomers’ satisfaction with television service providers has improved while the number of customers willing to “affirm” their loyalty to their current provider decreased in the year since J.D. Powers and Associates last undertook its annual U.S. Residential Television Service Satisfaction Study.

According to the study, overall television customer satisfaction increased 23 points, from 609 on a 1,000-point scale in 2008’s study to 632 in 2009.  Improved product performance and service–as measured by indicators such as “average time on hold to resolve a customer’s most recent problem” and ‘customers experiencing outages’–drove customers’ overall satisfaction with their TV service providers higher.

Despite being more satisfied customer loyalty declined between 2008 and 2009, however.  Twenty-five percent of cable customers surveyed in 2009 were willing to affirm their loyalty to their current provider as compared to 27 percent in 2008.  Satellite providers’ service loyalty rate fell four points to 40% year-over-year.

To determine overall customer satisfaction, the study measures five factors across cable, satellite and Internet protocol (IPTV) television providers broken out into four regional segments: North-Central, East, West and South.

AT&T’s U-verse ranked highest in the West and South for the second consecutive year.  Verizon’s FiOS ranked highest in the East for the second straight year and WOW! ranked highest in the North Central region. AT&T and Verizon’s good showing with TV echo the trend of new entrants typically performing better than entrenched incumbents. As we’ve noted before, Cablecos perform similarly with phone service, where they have recently received better satisfaction ratings than telcos.

The financial crisis and recession have taken their toll on premium services, according to the study.  The number of cable customers subscribing to additional premium channels fell to 29% in the 2009 survey from 32% in 2008’s.  The percentage of customers using video-on-demand dropped to 33% from 35% and the percentage using pay-per-view fell to 16% in 2009’s survey from 18% in 2008’s.

“It appears the economy has had an impact on the use of additional video services in 2009,” said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications.  “However, while there has been some belt-tightening regarding most additional services, DVR usage has risen 22 percentage points to 40 percent this year as more households utilize this tool to shift the view time for their preferred free programming.”