BY ANDREA FIGLER ESPN has the most overall value of all cable networks when it comes to local ad sales, according to data that will be released this week in the Jack Myers Report. Of the 150 cable operator executives surveyed by Myers, 83% rated ESPN good, very good or excellent in terms of how the sports network contributes to local ad sales revenue. The Discovery Channel ranked second in its contribution to local ad sales. CNN came in third, although Fox News ranked higher with the independent cable operators surveyed. Rounding out the top 15 highly rated networks for local ad sales revenue are, in descending order, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, USA Network, Fox News, A&E, ESPN II, TBS, Fox Sports, TNT, HGTV, MTV and the Weather Channel. Local ad sales ranked fifth among cable operators in terms of system revenue growth, after digital upgrades but before video-on-demand, Myers told Cable World. Of the total respondents, 64% ranked local ad sales as good, very good or excellent in terms of system revenue growth. Among larger MSOs with 250,000 or more subscribers, however, 77% rated local ad sales in the top category. High-speed cable modem service was the top category in terms of system revenue growth, Myers said. The Myers survey asked cable operators to rate more than 60 cable networks on their value in four categories: contribution to new subscriber acquisitions, contribution to reducing churn, contribution to digital upgrades and contribution to local ad sales. Jack Myers, chief economist for the report, released data on the three former categories last week; he plans to provide local ad sales information on the top ranking networks this week.

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