ANN ARBOR (WWJ) — Customers prefer consuming media and entertainment websites and apps via mobile devices over personal computers, according to new research from the Ann Arbor-based customer experience analytics firm ForeSee.
User satisfaction with mobile media and entertainment sites and apps scores 77 on the study’s 100-point scale. Satisfaction with media and entertainment websites via PC scored 67 in a similar study conducted in April.
Released Tuesday, ForeSee’s “Mobile Satisfaction Index: Media and Entertainment Edition” highlights 22 top U.S. streaming video, sports and news companies.
ForeSee produced the Mobile Satisfaction Index for retail (78), travel (77), and financial services (77), in addition to the media and entertainment edition. No industry has demonstrated exceptional customer experience in the mobile environment, though each industry has its stronger performers.
“With the fast pace of consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets, companies need to recognize the mobile platform is at least as important as the desktop web environment,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “These mobile benchmark scores suggest there is much work to be done. 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.”
Streaming TV and Movies
Streaming media is growing, and the streaming TV and movies category is the best scoring category at 78. Apple’s iTunes scores the highest of any measured company in the study, using a slightly different model than its streaming counterparts to secure a score of 80. iTunes customers download content before viewing, setting the service apart from its true streaming competitors.
Netflix, which has been transforming itself from a DVD delivery company to a streaming media and content development powerhouse, ties HBO GO at 79 and has nearly as many subscribers as HBO. Amazon’s streaming service isn’t as successful as its online retail operation. Amazon Instant Video registers 78, while Hulu Plus and Crackle lag further behind at 75.
“Netflix may be the most disruptive and innovative company in the space. It is making major infrastructure investments so it can deliver high quality video to any customer, anywhere, on any device. The company knows that it’s only as good as the content it can deliver, so Netflix goes a step further and into HBO’s turf to develop quality original content worthy of Emmy nominations,” said Eric Feinberg, senior director of mobile, media and entertainment. “Amazon is dipping its toes into the water by offering Instant Video to its Prime members. Amazon is what Netflix used to be.”
While premium content is a significant factor in customer satisfaction, performance is the key. Users want fast page loads and are dissatisfied when error messages or playback issues occur. iTunes’ position on top makes sense, given that it bypasses these performance issues. The study finds that performance is the main driver of satisfaction for streaming websites and apps. Consumers are most satisfied when accessing content with their home Wi-Fi connection (78), and least satisfied when using streaming media on public Wi-Fi (73).
Sports mobile sites and apps score 77 in aggregate, with scores as low as 74 and as high as 79. Though ESPN is often considered the leader in sports coverage, it is in a three-way tie for second with Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report, scoring 77. Fox Sports leads the category at 79. CBS Sports scored a 75 and Yahoo Sports a 74.
“ESPN is the 800-pound gorilla of sports coverage, but customers complain that there are too many mobile choices in where to connect, too many mobile sites and apps,” Feinberg said. “Fox Sports, on the other hand, has plenty of marketing muscle, especially with the impending launch of Fox Sports 1, and a more unified mobile strategy, offering a more focused app strategy.”
The most satisfied group in the sports category is comprised of customers who reported to frequently view ads, registering 81 in satisfaction. Twenty-three percent of sports mobile sites and apps users surveyed fall into this group, the highest among the three media and entertainment categories.
Satisfaction with the mobile sites and apps for news organizations scores 77 to match the aggregate score for Media and Entertainment. Fox News and NBC News tied for first at 79, followed by four news entities at 78 — Google News, Reuters, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Satisfaction with mobile news sites represents the largest spread of scores of all three categories measured in the study, with CBS News scoring the lowest at 73. Trust seems to be a factor when it comes to user satisfaction. According to the study, only 20 percent of those surveyed strongly agree they could trust the content on the news mobile site or app they visited.
Other key findings of the study:
Satisfaction matters: Satisfied users of mobile news, sports and streaming TV and movie sites and apps report they are 80 percent more likely to use the mobile channel as a primary resource, 72 percent more likely to give positive recommendations, and 58 percent more likely to use the mobile channel again.
‘Mobile’ at home: More than half (52 percent) of those surveyed are accessing news, sports, and streaming mobile sites and apps from home, as opposed to only 9 percent who do so exclusively on the go.
Seeing Stars isn’t Satisfaction: App store ratings for the measured sites do not always match scientifically calculated satisfaction scores.
Mobile preferences: 65 percent of those surveyed reported using a smartphone for their last mobile media and entertainment experience, compared to 35 percent who did so on a tablet.
Apps over Mobile Sites: More survey respondents used mobile sites (66 percent) than apps (34 percent), but app users are generally more satisfied (78 vs. 76).
The index was conducted through a consumer panel of more than 5,500 surveys collected during the first half of June. The full report includes more user behaviors, factors affecting customer satisfaction, and other data. It can be downloaded for free at http://www.ForeSee.com.