Discovery Channel, History Channel and ESPN ranked as the top three networks in the annual Beta Research Cable Subscriber study evaluating basic-cable services.
Discovery capped the No. 1 for the 15th consecutive year, the network noted. Thirty percent of those surveyed named the service, without prompting, as one of their top five favorite channels. Twenty-eight percent named the History Channel and 22% named ESPN.
“Discovery Channel continues to lead all other networks in perceived value and importance to the enjoyment of cable in this year’s study, which is especially important to our affiliate partners during today’s challenging economic times,” Discovery Communications president of domestic distribution and enterprises Bill Goodwyn said in a release. “We continue to invest in top-notch, best-in-class programming for our networks and the results of this study provide further proof that this commitment to quality continues to resonate with viewers.”
Rounding out the top 10 were the Food Network (18%); Lifetime and HGTV (17% each); TNT (16%); CNN, (15%); and Fox News Channel and USA Network (14% each).
The results were culled from a syndicated telephone survey of a national sample of cable subscribers. A total of 700 interviews were conducted between July 1 and Sept. 6, 2008.
Discovery also scored high on program quality, but not as high as Disney Channel. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said Disney Channel ranked high in terms of programming quality, just nudging Discovery (with 77%) out of first position. ESPN2 outranked its sibling ESPN in this part of the poll: 76% of respondents lauded the program quality on ESPN2, compared to 73% who named the original. History scored on a par with ESPN2, followed by Animal Planet and National Geographic Channel at 75%. The Weather Channel tied with ESPN; and ESPN Classic and Food Network tied with 72% each.
Discovery was also the top-ranked network in terms of satisfaction, scoring a mention by 70% of those polled. Tied with the channel, however, was ESPN2. Disney Channel was next with a score of 68%. ESPN was fourth with 67%, according to the poll.
Filling out that category were History (66%); ESPN Classic, National Geographic Channel and The Weather Channel, tied at 64%; and Food Network, HGTV and Versus, tied at 63%.