Non-Fiction Cable Networks Top Must-Have List in Survey

As competition grows to churn out more and more original scripted series, cable subscribers list non-fiction networks among the ones they “must have,” according to a new study.

Discovery Channel, History, Food Network and The Weather Channel were labeled as must have most often in Beta Research’s latest study of basic cable networks.

Rounding out the top 10 were AMC, ESPN, FX, CNN and. National Geographic Channel, with only AMC and FX specializing in scripted programming.

In terms of perceived value among viewers, Disney Channel was highest at $1.64 per month. It was followed closely by ESPN, Investigation Discovery, Cartoon Network, Food Network, Fox News Channel, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, Nickelodeon and Golf channel.

Beta Research also asked viewers who watch streaming services—Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime—for more than 10 hours a week what their five favorite basic cable networks were. Food Network came out on top, followed by Comedy Central, Syfy, ESPN, History, FX and AMC.

The study was conducted during June with a national sample of 1,501 cable subscribers.

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.