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Operators Name ESPN Most Valuable Net

ESPN is the most valuable network to cable operators, according to a new survey by Beta Research.

The survey information was also distributed by Walt Disney Co. and ESPN, which have been fighting a perception that ESPN’s distribution would be hurt if cable operators offer subscribers lower-cost skinny bundles of programming. (See: "Iger: Disney Subs Growing.")

Cable operators said ESPN was worth $1.03 and ESPN2 was worth 75 cents, according to the survey. Those networks actually cost operators and subscribers about $7 a month.

Following the ESPN networks, vable operators said the most valuable were NFL Network, Fox News Channel, Disney Channel, TNT, Fox Sports 1, USA Network, Discovery Channel, CNN and TBS.