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How to Misuse American Customer Satisfaction Index Data to Try to Block a Merger

Opponents of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger have scrambled to show that companies with larger market shares will hurt consumers, proposing theories built around flawed assumptions. This includes arguments that the new Comcast will suddenly become the only provider or saying that the deal will make the new Comcast a monopsony purchaser of television content.

One metric that they have stumbled upon is data from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which gives Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and other television and Internet service providers low scores as compared to other industries.

Several articles (like this one or this one) have bent this finding to argue that a larger company will result in less competition and lower customer satisfaction. Before using the rankings as mud to sling in their holy war against consolidated markets, they should have bothered to look at the reason for the low scores and what they actually say about market competitiveness.

This is what the ACSI data actually shows.

Providing reliable, high-quality Internet and television services across a national network is much more difficult than taking a hamburger order or shipping products bought online. When things

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