Beta Research Corp.'s first "Ad Executive Study" found that most of the ad
community thought the upfront presentations by Discovery Networks U.S. and NBC
last spring were the "highest quality."
Discovery was the overall leader when it came to upfront pitches, according
to 95 percent of the 300 respondents, with NBC second at 87 percent.
Among cable networks, Scripps Networks and Nickelodeon tied for second (78
That put the latter two in the company of broadcasters ABC (79 percent), CBS
and Fox (tied at 77 percent).
The other cable programmers given the highest marks on their upfronts were
Lifetime Television (74 percent), and A&E Television Networks and MTV Networks (tied at 73 percent).
The 300 executives polled included agency media planners, buyers, directors,
supervisors and managers, all pre-screened as having involvement in media-buying
decisions, Beta said.
When asked where they planned to increase ad spending in the coming year, 39
percent cited ESPN, followed closely by Discovery Channel (34 percent), E! Entertainment Television and
USA Network (tied at 33 percent). ESPN2, Lifetime and Comedy Central followed at
32 percent apiece.
The study also found that 80 percent of the buyers cited ESPN as the network
with the most appealing audience demos, followed by Discovery at 71
Among the "Big Four" broadcasters, NBC was the clear winner at 81 percent, with
Fox the closest runner-up at 62 percent.
Beta conducted this telephone survey last September and October.
In all, 37 ad-supported cable networks and the Big Four broadcast networks
were measured in the study.
The upfront-pitch query focused on the Big Four and 27 basic-cable networks.