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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.