Discovery Tops Myers Survey of Ops


For the fifth year in a row, cable operators ranked 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 said.

Discovery was followed in that "power ranking" category by Turner Networks, with a 76.8; ESPN Networks (67); Fox Cable Networks Group (65.7); and MTV Networks (65.1)

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 Networks ranked second with an 80% good/excellent rating, followed by ESPN at 76% and Fox Cable Networks Group 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 then ranked No. 1 in competence, overall marketing-support services and overall value to revenue and profitability.

This year's Myers survey was conducted online among 150 cable-operator executives at local systems and MSOs nationwide during April and May 2003. In total, 67 networks were evaluated.

More than two-thirds (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 rose to 85%.

The Myers survey also found that the average cable system will be adding three to five digital channels and one to two analog channels to their lineups this year. Of the respondents, 31% said they had no more analog space.