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News Analysis
WebTV Report Card 2001,
Pt. 2: Users Grade the Service


By Net4TV Voice Research Staff
(May 24, 2001)

In WebTV Report Card: Part 1, we reported the grades that WebTV users gave to the WebTV product features and functions. Now, in Part 2, we report on the grades for the WebTV Service.

Users Grade the Service Aspects

Grades are on a 4-point "school" scale, with A being 4, and F being 0. The grades and percentages are calculated from the users who actually answered the question; the percentage that did not is reported as NA, and its percentage (the "apathy factor") is of all poll respondents. This report selected the 8,152 unique WebTV users who answered from their WebTV boxes only; there were a number who answered from a PC (including as former WebTV users, and a few kibitzers), and they are not included in these numbers.

Importance is calculated on a 5-point scale, with 5 being "extremely important" and 1 being "Not important at all." Summary results of previous WebTV Report Card polls of 2331 users (1998) and 2526 users (1999) are compared, when the questions asked were the same.

WebTV's Look and Feel

A  22.55% 1672
B  36.28% 2690
C  27.88% 2067
D  8.42% 624
F  4.88% 362
NA  9.04% 737
Score: 2.63 Importance: 3.83
Prior Year Comparison
1998
3.22
1999
3.07
2001
2.63
This pretty much speaks for itself -- bring back the original WebTV designers. The importance of the look and feel climbed from 3.78 in 1998 and 3.59 in 1999 to 3.83 in 2001, so this is an area that really needs to be addressed by WebTV.

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Ease of Use

A  43.92% 3373
B  30.43% 2337
C  15.29% 1174
D  6.43% 494
F  3.93% 302
NA  5.79% 472
Score: 3.03 Importance: 4.46
WebTV clearly scores highly in ease of use, one of its highest service grades and also a matter of very high importance. This was a new question in 2001, and does not have prior year comparisons.

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Connection Reliability

A  11.03% 854
B  25.68% 1988
C  27.92% 2161
D  21.30% 1649
F  14.07% 1089
NA  5.04% 411
Score: 1.98 Importance: 4.71
Prior Year Comparison
1998
1.97
1999
1.83
2001
1.98
In each poll, users have rated Connection Reliability as the most important aspect of the service. It's also one of the places where WebTV does the worst -- below a 2.0 average for every year of the poll.

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Speed

A  4.94% 383
B  15.91% 1235
C  27.93% 2167
D  26.93% 2090
F  24.29% 1885
NA  4.81% 392
Score: 1.50 Importance: 4.57
This question was new in 2001, so there is no prior year comparison. It is another area of extreme importance to WebTV users, and another area where WebTV's grade is unacceptable -- the lowest in the entire survey.

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Compatibility With Sites User Wants

A  8.61% 656
B  23.40% 1783
C  34.76% 2649
D  21.99% 1676
F  11.23% 856
NA  6.53% 532
Score: 1.96 Importance: 4.35
This is another question new in the 2001 survey, and another extremely important area where WebTV is not receiving a passing GPA from its users.

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Communication with Users

A  21.80% 1620
B  31.83% 2365
C  27.99% 2080
D  11.02% 819
F  7.35% 546
NA  8.86% 722
Score: 2.50 Importance: 4.09
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.39
1999
2.37
2001
2.50
WebTV's communication with its users showed a slight improvement since the previous years' surveys.

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Customer Service

A  17.44% 1309
B  24.54% 1842
C  25.01% 1877
D  16.59% 1245
F  16.43% 1233
NA  7.92% 646
Score: 2.10 Importance: 4.42
Although our previous surveys have asked about Technical Support and Billing (next questions), this is the first time an overall Customer Service question has been asked.

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Technical Support

A  15.06% 1117
B  23.75% 1762
C  28.04% 2080
D  17.30% 1283
F  15.85% 1176
NA  9.00% 734
Score: 2.04 Importance: 4.39
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.06
1999
2.00
2001
2.04
WebTV's grade in technical support is virtually unchanged across the three surveys, as is the importance score and the apathy factor.

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Billing

A  62.63% 4652
B  20.37% 1513
C  10.97% 815
D  2.75% 204
F  3.28% 244
NA  8.88% 724
Score: 3.36 Importance: 3.95
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.95
1999
3.06
2001
3.36
WebTV does score well in its ability to collect its payments, and has shown marked improvement in this poll. The importance score and apathy factors are virtually unchanged across all polls.

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Frequency of Upgrades

A  11.51% 860
B  23.11% 1726
C  32.61% 2436
D  17.14% 1280
F  15.64% 1168
NA  8.37% 682
Score: 1.98 Importance: 3.91
Prior Year Comparison
1998
1.90
1999
1.84
2001
1.98
The scores for upgrade timing improved a bit from previous surveys (probably because there have been frequent attempts to upgrade in the last 11 months), but are still below the 2.0 C average that is the minimum passing grade.

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Content of Upgrades

A  9.41% 710
B  18.32% 1382
C  25.14% 1896
D  21.08% 1590
F  26.05% 1965
NA  7.47% 609
Score: 1.64 Importance: 4.34
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.06
1999
1.95
2001
1.64
The tremendous problems with the 2.5 and 2.6 upgrades have dropped WebTV far into the failing range, in the lowest grade of all. The importance score and apathy factors are virtually unchanged.

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Marketing

A  10.79% 699
B  21.45% 1389
C  38.22% 2475
D  14.79% 958
F  14.75% 955
NA  20.56% 1676
Score: 1.99 Importance: 2.62
Prior Year Comparison
1998
2.42
1999
2.22
2001
1.99
WebTV's marketing grade continued its fall, but the high apathy and low importance score mean a lot of users really don't care.

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Product Cost

A  37.19% 2705
B  31.87% 2318
C  21.68% 1577
D  5.47% 398
F  3.78% 275
NA  10.78% 879
Score: 2.93 Importance: 3.99
Prior Year Comparison
1998
3.16
1999
2.84
2001
2.93
The WebTV continues to be perceived as a good value in terms of the cost of the product (box) itself, but the importance score of the cost of the product has fallen from 4.30 and 4.34 in 1998 and 1999.

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Service Cost

A  19.39% 1444
B  25.11% 1856
C  27.84% 2058
D  16.06% 1187
F  11.60% 857
NA  9.34% 761
Score: 2.25 Importance: 4.31
This question was first asked in 2001. It is interesting to compare the users' perception of the cost of the product and its importance (previous chart) with the cost and importance score for the ongoing service.

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Finally, How Well Is WebTV Shaping Up?

Methodology: How We Conducted and Analyzed the WebTV Report Card Survey, we show how we tallied the poll.

In WebTV Report Card Part 1, we looked at users' grades for the WebTV product.

In WebTV Report Card Part 2, we looked at how the users grade the WebTV service.

In WebTV Report Card Part 3, we will sum up the grades and examine what all of this means.


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