AMC and PBS Top Movers in 2012 Brand Survey

The big four networks plus ESPN, Discovery, History, USA, Food Network and TNT are the top ten TV brands American consumers can’t do without, according to the latest edition of the “Must Keep TV” report from Solutions Research Group (SRG).

The fifth edition of the independent tracking survey is based on interviews with 1,400 American consumers in March 2012 who evaluated 73 TV brands.

ABC was identified as the top “must-keep” TV brand in by 51% of all respondents overall, narrowly beating CBS, FOX, and NBC. This is the fourth time ABC topped the ‘must keep TV’ poll out of five waves of research since 2007. Among men, CBS took the top spot, while ABC led in most key female demographics and took the overall top spot.

Among other highlights of the 2012 research:

·AMC is the top story of the year. Powered by The Walking Dead and Mad Men, AMC is now in the #30 spot among Adults 18-49, up from #51 last year. In the younger 18-34 demographic, it leaped into the #19 position, up a record 34 spots from last year. AMC is now seen as a more valuable channel in this younger demographic than brands such as A&E or TLC.

·PBS is also one of the big stories of this year, leaping 7 spots to #12 “must keep TV” brand in America overall, based on the huge popularity of the Downton Abbey franchise. Among women 18+, it was ranked #11, ahead of brands like TBS or HBO.

·As online alternatives pick up momentum, TV viewers appear to be slowly abandoning premium movie channels like Starz, Movie Channel and Cinemax. These three brands declined in rankings in all demos. In the 18-49 demo: Starz declined from #34 to #41 while Cinemax dropped from #46 to #53.

·Other interesting success stories included ABC Family which improved its standing in most demos significantly (now #17 overall). Warmer-than-normal temperatures made The Weather Channel must keep TV for more viewers, now ranked #20 among A18+, up six spots last year.

·Moving in the wrong direction this year: Nickelodeon is down five spots to #25 and Fox News is down 7 spots to #30.  HBO remained outside of the top 10 for the second year in a row although it improves its standing from to #11 since 2011 due to strong momentum among men 25-54.

·The research found that the big four networks’ brand equity stabilized despite proliferation of alternatives. The proportion of Americans who would include at least one of the big four networks in their top channels was 77% in 2012, exactly the same proportion as it was last year. The decline in the 2007-2009 period from a peak of 83% appears to have stabilized despite increased competition.

Technical: ‘Must Keep TV’  tracking is an independent syndicated brand tracking survey conducted by Solutions Research Group (SRG) among a representative sample of American consumers. This is the 5th edition of the survey since 2007. The questions have been fielded and presented in the same manner each wave. The 2012 research is based on online interviews with 1,400 American consumers 12+ conducted in early March 2012 – the sample captures and represents all major population segments.

Respondents are shown a list of 73 leading network/cable brands and are asked to identify which ones would be on their ‘must keep TV’ list if they had to choose a limited number. Sample design is balanced by geography, gender and ethnicity, including African-American and English-speaking Hispanics according to known universe parameters. For more information, email