Beta Research annually surveys cable operators throughout the country to gauge the perceived value of cable networks. As announced today and for the 12th consecutive year, ESPN ranked first in this important annual review.
Disney and ESPN Media Networks led by solid margins in nearly every measured category within the study, including which networks best drive broadband, high-speed Internet, interactive television, HDTV and VOD purchases.
Justin Connolly, senior vice president, national accounts, took a few minutes to help us understand why Beta’s results are so important.
FR: What is the significance of being ranked first in perceived value for 12 consecutive years?
Connolly: It demonstrates the quality ESPN delivers every single year to our fans as well as our continuing support for the growing list of products and services offered by our distributors. It’s a terrific accomplishment to be recognized for 12 consecutive years, and we don’t take that for granted. It’s even more gratifying that ESPN has been identified by our largest distributors as delivering more value than any other network. It’s a reflection of the hard work done in every part of the company to deliver the highest-quality products and services. More than anything, it shows that ESPN lives its mission to serve sports fans anytime, anywhere.
FR: Why do you think Disney and ESPN Media Networks continue to rank so highly?
Connolly: ESPN continues to evolve with sports fans, and also with the cable distribution community. We strive to add the best collection of top-tier sports rights like the BCS. We strive to lead in sports news and information. We put tremendous effort in research which provides us vital insights into our fans and our cable operators’ businesses. We also push the envelope in the products and technologies we employ — ESPN HD, ESPN 3D, WatchESPN. Across the board, we are looking for ways to get better and provide that value to all of our partners.
FR: In what ways do cable operators recognize ESPN’s value, beyond the standard subscription?
Connolly: The cable distributors use the ESPN network and the ESPN brand to sell a broad set of subscription services to their customers including video packages, high-speed Internet access packages among other products and services. ESPN also helps our cable distributors sell local advertising time. Cable operators receive advertising inventory in the ESPN network which they sell to local advertisers. The local advertising time in ESPN is by far the most valuable advertising time they receive on any network in the marketplace. There is tremendous value for the cable operators associated with ESPN.