Nat Geo, Comedy Central Tops in Beta Study

Apr 25, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The annual Beta Research Cable Subscriber Study was released Tuesday and several networks claimed branding victories.

National Geographic Channel, available in about 59 million homes, was rated No. 1 in high quality and original programming and among channels subscribers would most like to see in HD. Competitor Discovery was ranked No. 2 in high quality but noted it was tops among major networks.

Comedy Central topped the list of networks viewers described as entertaining, with Disney Channel and CMT close behind.

Typically, Beta issues separate results for midsize networks versus full-distributed, but this time all networks with more than 55 million subscribers were ranked together. Only subscribers of any given network are quizzed about the channel, and results are compiled as a percentage of responses — meaning smaller, niche-oriented channels can outrank fully distributed general networks despite having a smaller viewership.

Once again, viewers said they pay more attention to commercials on several genre-specific cable networks than on broadcast networks. For instance, Food Network received the highest marks in the category, followed by HGTV and Nat Geo.

Among networks described as valuable, The Weather Channel ranked No. 1, followed by (once again) Nat Geo, then History Channel.

Among broadcast networks, Fox was ranked most entertaining, with CBS and ABC tied for second and NBC third.