Beta: Discovery, ESPN, CNN Tops


Beta Research Corp. -- which, for the first time, released results from both
its "Cable Operator Evaluation Study" and its "Cable Subscriber Study" at the
same time Tuesday -- said Discovery Channel, ESPN and Cable News Network were
perceived as having the highest value in both reports.

Among the operators, ESPN led with an average perceived value of 88 cents,
while Discovery Channel was tops among subscribers at $1.55.

"ESPN has ranked first [among operators] for three years in a row," according
to Beta cable-division president Andy Klein.

The rest of the top five in the value rankings by cable systems, Beta said,
were ESPN (76 cents), Discovery (67 cents), Disney Channel (62 cents) and CNN
(58 cents).

Looking at the top five on the cable-subscriber side, the research firm said
Discovery was trailed by CNN ($1.23), The History Channel ($1.21), ESPN ($1.20)
and Lifetime Television ($1.13).

Other basic-cable networks that cracked both top tens were (alphabetically)
Disney, Lifetime, USA Network and The Weather Channel.

As those dollar breakouts indicated, Beta reported that the subscribers
tended to assign higher perceived values to the various channels than did the

Turner Classic Movies led the midsized networks in the operator survey. Its
perceived value of 39 cents followed by WGN (37 cents) and Oxygen (36 cents).
WE: Women's Entertainment, Hallmark Channel and CMT: Country Music Television
were bunched at 34 cents each.

Beta's operator survey was conducted among 150 cable operators (general
managers or marketing directors) last September and October, while the
subscriber study was done with just over 1,000 cable subscribers last August and
September. Both were telephone surveys.