LMN, Nat Geo Lead Beta Satellite Survey

Lifetime Movie Network and National Geographic Channel received the highest grades among satellite consumers in the latest survey from Beta Research Corp.

National Geographic took the top spot among emerging networks with satellite subscribers in terms of enjoyment and viewer satisfaction, while Lifetime Movie Network ranked first relative to viewer value, according to the "2001 Beta Satellite Dish Subscriber Study."

The results were derived from 600 telephone interviews conducted in April with a national sample of DirecTV and EchoStar Communications subscribers.

The study measured 56 basic cable networks that are available as part of DirecTV's Total Choice and Dish Network's Top-40 and Top-100 packages, including: 29 major networks (65 million or more subscribers); 11 mid-sized channels (30 million to 64 million subs); and 16 emerging networks (fewer than 30 million homes). The survey included National Geographic, LMN and Noggin for the first time.

Among emerging networks, Nat Geo, with a 39-percent response rate, led the way among those asked to grade a service's importance to satellite television overall. LMN was second with 33 percent, followed by ESPNews and Fox Movie Channel at 24 percent apiece, and Discovery Health Channel and Toon Disney, which each scored at 22 percent clip.

In the customer satisfaction arena, Nat Geo set the pace with 60 percent of respondents indicating they were "very satisfied" with the service, nipping Toon Disney's 59 percent. ESPNews and LMN were next with 56 percent, while Discovery Health and Noggin netted 49 percent and 47 percent of the respondent's votes respectively, according to the Beta survey.

As for perceived value among viewers, LMN was the top emerging network with respondents ascribing a $1.36 per month amount to the Lifetime Television spin-off. Toon Disney and Nat Geo were second and third, respectively, at $1.33 and $1.21. Fox Sports, at a $1.09, and Discovery Health and ESPNews, at $1.03 apiece, rounded out the top five.