A new national study shows that the big four network groups — NBC, Fox, Disney and CBS — occupy four of the top five spots in the most-desired network groups for a five-group “skinny bundle” internet TV service. The Turner networks round out the top five.

The Diffusion Group put out a new study, “Video Viewing Behavior in the Age of Quantum Video,” which asked 2,030 people about the five network groups they wanted in a five-group skinny bundle.

The study showed that the big four broadcast networks are still the kings of television. NBCUniversal garnered 48 percent of those queried. Fox and Disney (without ESPN) were next, tied at 41 percent, then CBS and Turner tied at 38 percent.

The ESPN Family of Networks was far behind with 22 percent in 11th place.

Michael Greeson, director of research for The Diffusion Group, said the thought that Big Four networks were on their way out was premature:

“Live Big Four broadcast viewing is diminishing, as with virtually every major network. This should not imply, however, that their death as brands or as major forces in consumer video is inevitable,” said Michael Greeson, director of research at TDG, in a statement. “The value of their content is immense; top of mind for many viewers.”

Normally, ESPN is included in the Disney group of networks but for this survey, the Worldwide Leader was separated. And Greeson said the results show that it’s a good idea for Disney to make the upcoming ESPN+ over-the-top streaming service a compliment to the linear ESPN networks, rather than one that could cannibalize viewers.

Greeson added that a respectable finish for A&E, Discovery, AMC, Viacom and Scripps in the study shows that people wouldn’t mind paying for those networks and forgoing sports in the process.

The Diffusion Group’s study revealed some interesting results, but the main takeaway is that the Big Four networks still carry a lot of weight for viewers.

[Fierce Cable]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.