Discovery, Health Lead Beta Survey

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Channels from the Discovery Networks U.S. stable headed the list of major and emerging programming services that non-cable subscribers are most interested in, according to the most recent study from Beta Research Corp.

In the "Beta Non-Subscriber Study," Discovery Channel ranked first among major networks — networks having 70 million or more subscribers — with respondents.

Beta ranked the services on a scale of 1 to 5, where the latter means "very interested" and the former "not at all interested." Discovery garnered ratings of 4 and 5 from 69 percent of the respondents.

The History Channel was second among major networks with 56 percent, while Disney Channel and The Learning Channel were tied with 49 percent. Cable News Network was next with 44 percent, followed by ABC Family Channel and American Movie Classics at 41 percent.

Among emerging networks — defined by Beta as having less than 70 million subs — Discovery Health Channel was tied for first with Turner Classic Movies, as 39 percent of respondents gave the services 4 or 5 rankings. Hallmark Channel was third at 35 percent, ahead of Toon Disney at 31 percent, Bravo and Travel Channel each at 24 percent and Techtv at 22 percent.

The results were tabulated from 500 telephone interviews conducted in March among a national sample of non-subscribers to cable and direct-broadcast satellite. Based on concept descriptions, the study sought to gauge interest in 50 networks — 32 major channels and 18 emerging services. Beta said that 61 percent of non-subscribers were former cable households.

Beta also found that 38 percent of survey respondents were interested in digital cable, while 25 percent were interested in DBS service. Of the non-subscribers interested in digital cable or satellite, more were likely to be former cable subscribers, aged 18 to 34 or persons with children.

"The results of this study once again reinforces the strength and power of the Discovery brands," Discovery Networks U.S. executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing Bill Goodwyn said in a statement. "Discovery Networks consistently lead in interest among non-subscribers, making good on our promise to build our affiliate partners' basic cable subscriber base while helping to grow their emerging businesses."

History general manager and executive vice president Abbe Raven noted that the network also placed second in a number of key measures in the survey. "Once again, The History Channel brand resonates across viewers in all key demographics, including male viewers and adults 35 to 49," she said in a statement. "From critical acclaim, ratings growth, and partnerships with historical organizations, The History Channel has become an essential part of the American cultural landscape. We are very proud of what we have accomplished in just seven years."

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