A survey on the best cable networks to work with from the Nonfiction Producers Association (NPA) sees History and A&E in the top two spots across the board. Discovery, Lifetime, ID, HGTV and Travel occupied many third and fourth place spots.
The survey was completed by members of 41 production companies. It focused on preferred network for pitching, executive creativity, development process, business affairs process, production editorial oversight, and production management. For each of the six topics, respondents rated each network on a scale from one to 10.
For cable networks that are preferred for pitching, History rated an 8.1 and A&E an 8.0. In terms of executive creativity, History was a 7.7 and A&E a 7.5. For development, History was a 7.0 and A&E a 6.9.
History and A&E are part of A+E Networks.
Others finishing near the top include Lifetime and ID. Low-ranking networks in the survey include BET, CMT and WE tv.
John Ford, general manager of the NPA, acknowledged that “some outside factors” affect the survey. “For example, it’s probably no coincidence that networks that buy the largest volume of programming, placed, for the most part, in the top 10 spots,” he said. “We did tabulate the results to ensure the survey didn’t penalize networks that don’t buy what certain producers sell. Ultimately, this survey is specifically designed to offer information that can improve processes and better the relationships between producers and networks.”
The NPA, representing non-fiction content production in the U.S. and Canada, was founded in 2014.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.