ESPN Again Seen as Most Valuable Network by Operators

Studio X: Victoria Arlen and Arda Ocal on the SportsCenter set.
Victoria Arlen and Arda Ocal on the ESPN 'SportsCenter' set. (Image credit: Kelly Backus/ESPN Images)

Cable operators continue to perceive that ESPN is their most valuable network, according to a survey from Beta Research.

Operators said on average the sports network was worth $1.05 a month to their systems, marking the 22nd consecutive year it was ranked first or statistically tied for the top position, Beta said.

ESPN2 was the third most valuable to operators, who ascribed a $1.03 value on it. 

Operators actually pay about $7 a month to Disney to run the ESPN networks.

Also: ESPN Tops Beta List of 'Must Have' Cable Channels

Also ranking among the top networks in perceived value were Fox News Channel, Disney Channel, HGTV, TNT and Discovery Channel.

Asked which networks are most requested by customers during the pandemic, the operators again put ESPN on top. ESPN was followed in the survey by Fox News Channel, CNN, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, Disney Channel, MSNBC and Food Network.

Beta also asked operators which programmers ranked highest for helping operators deal with the business impact of cord cutting through marketing and promotion. 

Disney and ESPN Media Networks, got the highest scores, getting positive responses from 58% of those surveyed.

Other organizations seen as helpful are the Hallmark Networks, Discovery, NBCUniversal and Fox.

The Beta Research Cable Operator Study was conducted between July and August with a sample of 81 cable operators, 44% of which having 200,000 or more subscribers. ■ 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.