Networks top must-keep TV survey


ABCIt seems the oft-predicted demise of broadcast television remains highly exaggerated. According to a survey, if television viewers were limited in the number of channels they could watch, their top four picks would be ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.

#1 must-keep bragging rights rest with ABC. Its success was based on results from the female side of the gender gap – if men had their way, CBS would have been on top.

This marks the fifth time that Solutions Research Group has performed this particular study.
Rounding out the top ten are six popular cable offerings, including ESPN, Discovery, History, USA, Food Network and TNT.

There is even more good news for the broadcast side — PBS jumped from #19 to #12 on the must-keep list, and it came in #11 among women.

Other highlights of the survey:

* AMC has been rising rapidly through the ranks on the strength of its popular scripted offerings The Walking Dead and Mad Men.

* Premium movie channels are taking on water – Starz, Movie Channel and Cinemax all suffered declines.

* ABC Family and The Weather Channel both picked up steam – in The Weather Channel’s case, the cause was said to be the warm winter.

* Down-trending were Nickelodeon and Fox News, and SRG said this was the second year in a row HBO failed to make the top ten.

* Despite the ever-increasing number of options, SRG said that 77% of Americans would retain at least one of the Big Four networks if forced to choose, on par with 2011 and only slightly below the peak result of 83%.

RBR-TVBR observation: Here is more evidence that MVPDs need broadcast content. It also shows why most of them eventually come around and negotiate a fair price for it, despite all the complaining we hear from them.

Add together the critical local content provided by network affiliates and the high-value news, sports and entertainment provided by the networks and it’s a wonder MVPDs begrudge paying fair value – after all, it is in their best interest that most valuable channels on their lineup continue to prosper and help keep MVPDs well-supplied with subscribers.