ESPN: The bungee cord that keeps subscribers tied to cable

Here's something to think about the next time the Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) starts negotiations for retransmission fees for its cable channels. A study conducted by Needham and Company analyst Laura Martin showed that 31 percent of those interviewed believe Disney's ESPN is the "most indispensible basic cable channel" and that, the study concluded, is what keeps them from cutting the cord.

Another interesting tidbit: HBO, which is suffering through its own identity crisis and is pushing itself away from cable to an extent with its HBO Go product, finished seventh on the list.

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HBO weighs going a la carte for first time since inception as Netflix nips at its heels
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