ESPN Top ‘Must Have’ Cable Network Among Men

ESPN is the top “must have” cable network among men, and women are hungry for Food Network, according to a new study from Beta Research.

Beta’s Basic Network Evaluation Study also found that cable subscribers found ESPN and Nick Jr. had the highest perceived value among viewers. Viewers pegged the value of each of those networks at $1.74 per month.

In this time of cord-cutting and as distributors look to make their bundles skinnier, the networks most in demand and valuable to subscribers are the ones likely to be able to avoid cuts in carriage and carriage fees.

In its ranking of must-have networks among men, ESPN was named by 47% of respondents. The sports giant was followed by History, Discovery Channel, Weather Channel, TNT, FX and ESPN2.

Among women, Food Network was listed by 36% of those responding. It was followed by Weather Channel, Lifetime Movie Network, Discovery Channel, FX, TLC and AMC.

In terms of average perceived value of cable networks following ESPN and Nick Jr. were Disney Channel, Investigation Discovery, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, Food Network, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1 and National Geographic Channel.

Beta also said that 19% of adults said they would definitely switch cable providers if Discovery Channel were dropped--the most of any network in the survey.

Discovery was followed closely by ESPN, History, Syfy, FX, National Geographic and AMC.

The Beta study was conducted during June among a national sample of 1,400 cable subscribers age 18 and up. The study measured 45 basic cable networks.

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.