ESPN, DIY, CSTV Rank High in Beta Study

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Operators may lament ESPN’s high licensing fees, but the network remains the most valued among cable operators, according to a 2003 Beta Research Corp. cable-operator study on channel carriage.

ESPN and ESPN2 ranked first and second among major networks, with their average monthly perceived values at $0.91 and $0.65, respectively, according to the study.

Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite ($0.61), Disney Channel ($0.57) and Discovery Channel ($0.53) rounded out the top five.

ESPN Classic led the field of midsized networks with a $0.39 monthly perceived value, followed by Fit TV (formerly The Health Network, $0.36) and National Geographic Channel ($0.35).

Do It Yourself was tagged as the network operators are most interested in carrying, with 76% of 151 cable operators polled saying they want to launch the Scripps Networks-owned service by the end of 2004.

PBS Kids and The Outdoor Channel were requested by 60% of respondents, followed by Noggin (58%), SOAPnet and Sundance Channel (54% each).

Among midsized networks, Lifetime Movie Network was tops on operators’ wish lists with 74%, followed by NGC (72%), Hallmark Channel (69%), Tech TV (63%) and WE: Women’s Entertainment (61%).

Upstart College Sports Television (56%) and Hallmark (12%) placed first among top-ranked emerging networks and midsized networks, respectively.

Discovery was the most mentioned basic network among operators with regard to helping them to sell broadband and high-speed Internet services, followed by Tech TV, ESPN, MTV: Music Television, Cable News Network and Oxygen.

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