Ad Execs Favor ESPN in 2011, Says Survey

A new Beta Research survey of agency executives and advertisers suggests that clients will be spending more of their 2011 marketing dollars on ESPN.
After polling 225 ad professionals––of which 152 were identified as agency players while the remaining 73 were culled from the client ranks––Beta found that 54 percent of respondents said they would increase their ad spending on ESPN this year, up 10 notches from a 2009 survey.
Scripps Networks Interactive flagship channels were the second and third most-cited outlets in the Beta study, as 49 percent of those surveyed indicated that they would pick up more of Food Network’s inventory in the coming year, while 48 percent voiced a yen for more exposure on HGTV.

Top-rated USA Network tied HGTV for third place in this year’s Beta survey, while Bravo, Discovery Channel and TBS all came in fourth (46 percent). TNT rounded out the top five, with a 44 percent bump.

All told, the reported intention to increase ad spending on the average basic cable network increased from 21 percent a year ago to 30 percent.

Along with queries about how each network functioned in terms of providing a favorable programming environment, the Beta study also focused on which networks offered the most creative/innovative multiplatform opportunities. According to the researcher, 80 percent of executives who do business with Discovery Channel said the network rated at least a four-of-five on a scale where a perfect five signaled the presence of the most desirable advertising environment on TV. Food Network also posted an 80 percent rating.

ESPN took second in the category (78 percent), followed by HGTV (75 percent), ABC (68 percent) and CBS (66 percent).   

When judged on that same five-point scale, ESPN/ABC Sports (68 percent) took top honors for providing the most creative/innovative cross-platform opportunities, beating out Discovery Networks (63 percent), Fox (58 percent), Scripps Networks (56 percent), The Weather Channel (56 percent), MTV (55 percent) and ABC (55 percent).

Discovery Networks also was judged to have hosted the best upfront event in spring 2010. The Silver Spring, Md.–based media company would certainly win any contest based on the duration of its upfront presentations; at roughly 105 minutes, Discovery’s annual show in New York is the most drawn-out by far.

Beta conducted the 225 interviews between July and October of 2010. The study measured 44 basic cable channels and the Big Four broadcast nets