Cable Outscores B'casters in Beta Study


In putting the "Big Four" television networks up against the basic-cable
networks for the first time, Beta Research Corp. reported Tuesday that many of
the cable services outscored the broadcasters in many categories of its latest
"2003 Brand Identity" study.

The research firm conducted the telephone survey in January among 600 cable

When asked whether "entertaining" described various networks, for example, 73
percent of respondents said they regarded Discovery Channel and Animal Planet
thusly. Moreover, most respondents scored 13 other cable programmers ahead of
the Big Four broadcasters, Beta said.

Fox was the highest-ranked broadcaster (56 percent), trailed by ABC (50
percent), NBC (48 percent) and CBS (44 percent), the researcher added.

In terms of being "valuable," three cable services scored above the 65
percent mark: The Weather Channel (71 percent), Discovery (67 percent) and The
History Channel (65 percent).

Looking at various networks in terms of high quality, consumers opted most
for Discovery (71 percent), followed by History (68 percent), Disney Channel (65
percent) and The Learning Channel (64 percent).

Asked about whether a network is perceived as "bold/tries new things," 56
percent chose MTV: Music Television, 51 percent TLC and Discovery 50 percent,
Beta added.

The average broadcast network, meanwhile, scored 49.5 percent in the
entertaining ranking, 39 percent in high quality, 32 percent in the valuable
ranking and 29 percent in bold/tries new things, according to Beta.

When it came to paying more attention to commercials on a particular network,
ESPN and ESPN2 fared best among 29 percent and 18 percent of respondents,
respectively. Rounding out that top five were MTV (17 percent), Home &
Garden Television (16 percent) and Cartoon Network (15 percent).

In sharp contrast, 9 percent of respondents, on average, said that about the
broadcast networks.

In another finding, Beta reported that just over one-third of respondents (35
percent) said they visited Weather's Web site ( during the previous 30 days,
followed by Food ( at 28
percent; ESPN (
and HGTV ( tied at 27 percent;
and MSNBC ( at 25 percent.

All told, the Brand Identity study measured 41 basic-cable networks with 55
million or more subscribers, as well as the four major