The Outdoor Channel and Fox Business Network are the top emerging networks that operators most want to carry, while DIY Network and Lifetime Movie Network are the top-ranked midsized networks, according to a study released Jan. 22 by Beta Research.
In a nationally representative survey of 130 operators, 83% expressed interest in carrying Outdoor Network by the end of 2008. Second place finisher Fox Business Network scored 72%, followed by PBS Kids Sprout (69%); ESPNU (67%); Hallmark Movie Channel (66%); CSTV (55%), Nickelodeon Digital Networks (54%); Fox Movie Channel (53%); VH1 Digital Networks (45%) and Lifetime Real Women (44%).
Seventy-six percent of the executives expressed an interest in DIY Network, among midsized services. The other top five were Lifetime Movie Network (75%); Discovery Home (soon to become Planet Green), 71%; Discovery Times Channel, 68%; and History International, 65%.
Of interest is the sixth-place finisher in the midsized networks category: NFL Network, the source of a public carriage squabble between cable operators and the sports league. Only 61% said they anticipated adding the football channel by the end of 2008. Beta noted that the majority of respondents, 76%, were from systems with 10,000 or more subscribers. When the large systems (100,000 or more subscribers) were carved into a separate category, NFL Network ranked first among mid-sized networks operators would like to carry next year.
Other midsized networks named by the larger operators included Noggin and The N, on separate dedicated channels, named by 18%; History International and WE TV, each with 10%; and Discovery Times, IFC, Discovery Home, Fuse and ESPN Classic, each named by 8%.
Executives from larger systems named Fox Business Network and Retirement Living TV as their top “gets” among emerging networks, with each named by 43% of respondents. The rest of the list included ABC News Now, 37%; ESPNU, 30%; JCTV from TBN, 29%; Smile of a Child from TBN, 27%; Military History Channel, 24%; Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Real Women at 22%; and PBS Kids Sprout at 21%.
The study, conducted last October and November, measured the popularity of 22 emerging networks (defined as those passing one million to 40 million homes) and 26 mid-sized networks (serving 41 million to 70 million subscribers at the time of the survey). The poll includes responses from 130 marketing directors, general managers or programming directors, of whom 49% were from systems serving 100,000 or more subs and 34% were from 200,000-plus systems.