Cable Operators Say ESPN, Discovery Tops In Customer Attraction, Retention


ESPN was top-ranked by cable operators for the channel’s role in helping systems gain and retain customers, while Discovery Networks came in on top as the programming organization most helpful in aiding operators in selling high-speed Internet, HDTV and other advanced services, according to a Beta research survey released today.

The rankings were the results of a survey of 130 cable operators polled last September-November. The majority of those polled (76%) were from systems with 10,000 or more subscribers.

The sports network was valued highest among basic cable network. Operators placed a $1.08 a month value on the channel. ESPN said that was the highest value ever attributed to the network, adding this is the 8th year ESPN has ben ranked No. 1. By comparison, the second highest scoring channel, sibling ESPN2, was valued at 64 cents a month. Disney Channel came in third at 56 cents a month.

ESPN ranked highly in several categories including importance to acquisition/retention, programming that generates local ad sales, best overall marketing and most helpful in driving VOD and SVOD efforts, according to the network.

Discovery Networks also scored well among operators. In addition to topping the list of networks aiding operators in selling advanced services, the company’s affiliate sales and marketing group was top-ranked in several categories. Its affiliate Web site was the top business-to-business site in the survey.

“The results of this study demonstrate that Discovery’s brands, quality programming and innovative affiliate sales and marketing initiatives separate us from other programmers in the eyes of distributors,” said Bill Goodwyn, president, Domestic Distribution and Enterprises, Discovery Communications, in a statement. “As is the case with our aggressive rollout of HD and VOD services, we continually strive to provide operators with the content and resources to grow their businesses and reinforce the value of our services on systems across the country.”