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Disney Scores in Beta Study

Mickey's big ears must be burning.

According to a study commissioned by basic-cable networks, Disney Channel was ranked as the most entertaining and most family-oriented cable network and the second highest rated in quality, while co-owned ABC was ranked the most family-oriented broadcast network.

The caveat is that, with an estimated 5% plus-or-minus margin of error, many of the results were effectively dead heats. Disney appeared to be in the clear as the most family friendly cable net, with 85% saying family -friendly "very much describes" the network to Cartoon Network's 79%, but ABC-TV was just two percentage points ahead of second-place NBC and just 5 points ahead of CBS and Fox, tied at 42%.

The family-oriented question was framed "in the context of the indecency issue being discussed in Congress." The study, conducted by Beta Research Corp., found that, overall, the top ad-supported cable nets scored higher than broadcast networks on the family-friendly scale.

On the question of commercial clutter, The History Channel and Fox were dubbed the least "cluttered with commercials" among cable and broadcast nets, with 42% of respondents saying History was "less cluttered with commercials than others," and 22% saying the same of Fox.

 Both races were close, though, with Discovery in second place among cable nets at 41% and Weather Channel in third with 38%; all the broadcast networks were within a couple percentage points of Fox. Given that 5% plus-or-minus, it was virtually a dead heat on the broadcast side and a several-network race in cable.

When asked to ascribe various attributes to networks, The Weather Channel got top scores for most valuable at 73%, but History Channel, Discovery and TLC were all within that margin of error. Not surprising, Discovery won in "bold/tries new things" with 60% to second place Comedy Central's 51%. 

Disney was tied with Cartoon Network for "entertaining," with Comedy Central and Discovery tied for second at 79%.  Discovery and History tied for high marks in "high quality" with 80%, followed closely by Disney at 79%.