Sports Net Ranks Among ‘Revered’ Brands

NEW YORK A new Beta Research survey of advertising sales professionals found that when it comes to perceived brand value, cable generally outshines the top four broadcast networks.

In a study conducted in November 2005, Beta Research found that the net with the most solid brand image is Bristol, Conn.-based ESPN, which earned favorable marks from 78 percent of the 350 ad sales executives surveyed. Discovery Channel was the second-most revered brand at 76 percent, followed by Food Network (68 percent), Comedy Central (64 percent), HGTV (63 percent), The History Channel (62 percent) and MTV (59 percent).

The top midsize network was National Geographic Channel, which was a favorite of 52 percent of ad sales pros.

The brand survey flip-flopped an earlier Beta Research study of consumers, which placed Discovery as the favorite network among cable subscribers and non-subscribers alike, with ESPN coming in second.

The broadcast nets were also put under the microscope, with the results generally recapitulating their respective ratings performances. ABC was seen as the top broadcast brand (69 percent), followed by CBS (62 percent), Fox (56 percent) and NBC (52 percent).

Meanwhile, advertisers ranked ESPN No. 1 in terms of the appeal of its audience demographics (63 percent), followed by Discovery Channel (61 percent), History Channel (57 percent) and a pair of Scripps properties (Food Network and HGTV, at 56 percent and 55 percent, respectively). Comedy Central (54 percent), TNT and TBS (both 52 percent) and MTV (50 percent) rounded out the top demos.

The broadcast results differed slightly from the brand equity portion of the survey, as ABC boasted the most valuable demos (63 percent), followed by Fox (57 percent), CBS (46 percent) and NBC (45 percent).

Just a year ago, NBC was tops in both categories.