For the fifth year in a row, cable operators ranked the Discovery Networks
U.S. affiliate-sales force No. 1 overall in performance, according to a new
survey released last week by Jack Myers Report.
In Myers' so-called power ranking, Discovery Networks was at the top
with a 85.6 rating out of a potential 100, the annual survey of cable operators
Discovery was followed in that power-ranking category by Turner Broadcasting
System Inc. (76.8), ESPN (67), Fox Cable Networks Group (65.7) and MTV Networks
Of the basic networks, 89% of the survey respondents rated Discovery's group
of networks as "good," "very good" or "excellent" for their contribution to
revenue and profitability.
Turner ranked second with an 80% good/excellent rating, followed by ESPN at
76% and Fox Cable at 71%.
ESPN's ranking was hurt by lower ratings among independent systems, which
ranked the sports network fourth with only a 63% approval rating. In contrast,
84% of the respondents affiliated with major MSOs rated ESPN good to excellent
for contributions to revenue and profitability.
According to the operator survey, Discovery's affiliate team tied for No. 1
with Turner in terms of accessibility, and it ranked No. 1 in competence,
overall marketing-support services and overall value to revenue and
This year's Myers survey was conducted online among 150 cable-operator
executives at local systems and MSOs nationwide during April and May. In total,
67 networks were evaluated.
Some 68% of operators currently pass through HDTV signals or expect to during
2003, the survey found.
In systems with more than 250,000 subscribers, that quantity of affiliates
passing through HDTV rose to 85%.
The Myers survey also found that the average cable system will add
three to five digital channels and one to two analog channels to their lineups
Of the respondents, 31% said they had no more analog space.