National Geographic Channel, Biography Channel and Lifetime Movie Network are
the digital emerging networks that operators most want to carry, according to
the latest 'Beta Cable Operator Study' released Tuesday by Beta Research
The Syosset, N.Y.-based research firm said 84 percent of operators expressed
strong interest in carrying Nat Geo by the end of 2002, followed by 81 percent
for Biography and 71 percent for LMN.
Do It Yourself (68 percent) and Fox Movie Channel (63 percent) also were
among the operators' top five choices, Beta said.
Rounding out the top 10 were: WE: Women's Entertainment (60 percent); History
Channel International and Toon Disney (tied at 59 percent); and Discovery Health
Channel, Oxygen and The Outdoor Channel (all clustered at 58 percent).
All told, Beta measured 33 emerging networks, each reaching between 1 million
and 14 million cable subscribers.
As for the midsized networks, Beta's survey found Speedvision and Turner
Classic Movies to be the most-sought-after services likely to be added by the
end of next year. They were cited by 72 percent and 71 percent of operators,
TV Land was mentioned by 67 percent, followed by 62 percent each for Food
Network and Travel Channel, 61 percent for ESPN Classic and 60 percent for
Courtroom Television Network.
Beta measured 14 midsized networks, described as having between 15 million
and 49 million subscribers.
In other findings, the researcher said 83 percent of operators surveyed this
year reported having a digital tier, up considerably from 66 percent last year
and 40 percent in 1999.
Operators -- which, on average, increased their analog basic channels by 3.7
this year (versus 2.9 last year) -- indicated strongly that they intended to add
at least one such service to basic/expanded basic within the next 12 months.
Specifically, 67 percent said they planned to add at least one in that time
span, up from 49 percent saying that a year ago, Beta said.
Most (18 percent) said they planned to add two such channels, while 12
percent said they'd add four or five. By contrast, 33 percent said they did not
plan to add any channels to their basic/expanded basic lineup.
Purchased by more than 40 cable networks, Beta's syndicated telephone survey
is based on responses from 151 cable operators, 76 percent of which had 10,000
or more subscribers and 55 percent of which had 25,000 or more.
A&E Television Networks and Discovery Networks U.S. were the quickest to
react to the Beta research results Tuesday.
AETN senior vice president of affiliate sales David Zagin, noting that
Biography and History International ranked highly in numerous categories,
pointed out that Biography was the No. 4 emerging network in general managers'
interest and fifth in system marketing directors' interest.
Discovery Networks executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing
Bill Goodwyn focused on how well its various networks did in unaided awareness,
with Animal Planet and Travel Nos. 2 and 3 among midsized services and six of
its networks among the top 10 digi-nets (led by Discovery Science