In what might surprise those who think TV viewers are flocking away from the big four networks, comes a "must read" study. No, let's make that "must have" study when it comes to pay-TV services.
New research from The Diffusion Group (TDG), once again took on the task of putting together a bare-bones list of TV channels one would need to be satisfied. The shocker is, perhaps, that ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, top the list again. The study was conducted in 2011 as well, with the same networks on top, with only NBC and CBS flipping spots.
What this test amounts to is that, when asked, customers "must have" these channels above all the rest one has to choose. Another reason to study this idea is there is an concept out there to give customers their choice of channels, and gear it to them, like this study suggests.
Top "Must Have" Networks for Pay-TV Service
1. ABC - 68.4 percent
2. NBC - 66.6 percent
3. CBS - 64.2 percent
4. FOX - 60.9 percent
5. Discovery Channel - 47.3 percent
6. The History Channel - 45.7 percent
7. HBO - 41.0 percent
8. ESPN - 37.5 percent
9. Syfy - 35.7 percent
10. Comedy Central - 35.1 percent
Granted, participants weren't given a complete list of channels. From a list of 35 channels, consumers were asked to select the 10 they considered essential to a pay-TV service. "For operators looking to craft a bare-bones tier, these are the channels that must be included," noted Michael Greeson, TDG Founding Partner and Director of Research. "To do otherwise runs the risk of alienating large numbers of consumers.
When looking at the list, one question could be, "Would you, as the customer, be happy with this selection?" And furthermore, would you pay a price for your "must have" list.
As these studies continue, this may be the answer to the rising prices of cable and digital. Or, for that matter, eliminating the need for hundreds of useless channels that get tacked into a plan. Another item of note: write down the stations most in use during any given week and then, look at that bill. This idea may become more clear.
As for those cable news shows, they are nowhere to be found. In other words, they get the headlines, but do not get the votes when asked to pick and choose. Also, many of the food, music or travel channels are not here.
Since the list is a mixture of so-called "free" TV and pay services, there must be a middle ground. How much would one pay, plus, would viewers pay for without a service, like ESPN, for example? There continues to be widespread debate regarding the value of ESPN in an entry-level package, the study noted.
"Operators spend $5 per subscriber for ESPN - making it the most expensive cable channel and leading many to question whether it must be part of even entry-level packages," Greeson said. "Data suggests that the total addressable audience for a pay-TV package without ESPN would be at least 40 percent less than one that included ESPN."
So, go and pick ten networks and see how that idea rates. Could you get along with just ten if you ended up paying less for shows you actually watch?