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Operators Say ESPN Is Most Valuable Net

Beta Research supports Disney view of sports channel’s strength

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 has been fighting a perception that ESPN’s distribution would be hurt if lower-cost skinny bundle programming were offered by cable operators to subscribers.

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

Following the ESPN channels were NFL Network, Fox News Channel, Disney Channel, TNT, Fox Sports 1, USA Network, Discovery Channel CNN and TBS.

Related: Iger Says ESPN Subscribers Are Up

Beta also asked operators which programmers were most helpful with TV Everywhere efforts.

Disney/ESPN was mentioned by the most operators at 59%, topping Fox Cable Networks at 45%; NBCUniversal Cable at 41% and Turner at 40%.

Individual networks mentioned as being helpful with TV Everywhere were ESPN, Fox News Channel, CNN, A&E, Hallmark Channel and Fox Sports.

Beta surveyed 100 cable operators between August and October. About half the respondents worked at systems with more than 200,000 subscribers.