Hitting a seven-year low, Internet providers and pay-TV companies were literally just ranked as the least popular industries in America.
Those businesses come tied in last place in the latest update to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which ranks 43 industries on a 0-to-100 scale. The country's most hated industries, each with a score of 63, fall behind the U.S. Postal Service (69), wireless carriers (70) and even airlines (71).
That's a drop from even two years ago, when subscription television scored a 68 and Internet providers got a 65. (Then, as now, they were still the least popular industries on the index.)
Claes Fornell, ACSI's chairman and founder, attributes much of the recent decline with a growing share of options for consumers who are fed up with the industries' business models.
"Consumer abandonment of pay TV is shaking up the industry," said Fornell of the pay-TV sector, "and lower satisfaction could mean even more cord cutting by subscribers ahead."
Even though analysts say cord-cutting won't necessarily save consumers money (because streaming apps and individual channels are priced so that, added together, they roughly compare to a traditional cable bundle) consumers might pay the premium if it means no longer having to deal with their providers' customer reps.
Cable industry officials have acknowledged that they have a lot of work to do to restore trust with consumers.
"I think the industry needs to really — not double, triple — make a 10-year commitment to the recovery of that relationship," said Michael Powell, head of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, in an interview in February.