Aside from sports channels, cable operators see Fox News Channel as the most valuable network that they carry.
According to a new survey by Beta Research, operators said that Fox News had a perceived value of 58 cents per subscriber per month, barely topping Disney Channel (57 cents), USA Network (53 cents) and Discovery Channel (52 cents). It also topped CNN, which was valued at 48 cents per sub by the operators surveyed.
In recent public remarks, News Corp. COO Chase Carey has remarked that some Fox News carriage agreements are up soon and that the company will be pushing for large increases in sub fees.
Most of the other networks in the top 10 were sports channels, including ESPN and ESPN2, valued at $1.16 per sub and 71 cents per sub, respectively. Also highly valued were NFL Network and ESPNU (51 cents apiece) and TNT (50 cents), which carries National Basketball Association games and will begin airing "March Madness" action next month.
Beta also surveyed operators about which cable sales organizations were most helpful in selling high-speed Internet, HDTV and video on demand. Disney/ESPN Media Networks came out on top, followed by Discovery Networks and NBC Universal Cable.
The top networks in terms of helping to sell HD programming were ESPN, getting 49% of the mentions, with National Geographic Channel and the NFL Network tied for second at 13%.
Beta surveyed 110 cable operators between August and November 2010, with 42% of the respondent representing systems with 200,000 or more subs.