Beta Study: Ops Value ESPN the Most

Cable operators value ESPN the most among the networks they carry, according to a Beta Research study.

According to the Beta study, which surveyed 103 cable operators by telephone between August and October, ESPN was ranked at the top of basic networks by average perceived value at $1.14 per subscriber per month. That’s less than one-sixth of the estimated $7 per subscriber per month the network receives on average from pay TV providers, according to SNL Kagan. Sister networks ESPN 2 placed second with an 89-cents per sub perceived value followed by NFL Network (78 cents); Fox News Channel (76 cents); Disney Channel (75 cents); FS1 (70 cents) and TNT (70 cents).

USA Network placed seventh at 67 cents, followed by the Discovery Channel, Food Network and NBC Sports Network at 65 cents each.

ESPN did fare slightly better than last year, when operators participating in the study said it was worth about $1.03 per subscriber per month. All the other networks were also valued at substantial discounts to their average affiliate fees.

Disney and ESPN Media Networks were tied for first place when respondents were asked which channels were “very helpful” in selling TV Everywhere and video on demand services, with 77% of total operators picking the programmers. Discovery was a close second with 63%, followed by Fox Cable Networks with 62%. 

According to Beta, 86% of the operators surveyed had 10,000 or more subscribers; 56% had 100,000 or more subscribers and 50% had 200,000 or more subscribers. For perceived value, operators were asked to estimate the amount per month per subscriber that the network was worth to their system.