ABC, PBS and AMC Among Big Winners in U.S. TV Brand Tracking Survey

Mad Men Christina Hendricks Season 5 - H 2012

Mad Men Christina Hendricks Season 5

As premium movie channels Starz, Movie Channel and Cinemax decline, cable channels with such hits as "Mad Men," "The Walking Dead" and "Downton Abbey" are the biggest climbers.

TORONTO – No surprise here: U.S. TV viewers can’t do without their favorite dramas.

But that’s good news for U.S. cable channels like AMC and PBS, which were the biggest movers on the 2012 TV Brand Survey released Monday by the Toronto-based Solutions Research Group.

The TV brand tracking survey, which interviewed 1,400 Americans in March 2012, found AMC moved from 51st position to 30th place, based on the performance of The Walking Dead and Mad Men on its primetime schedule.

The other big mover was PBS, which went from 19th to 12th place due to the break-out popularity of its Downton Abbey period drama franchise.

Among women aged 18 years and over, PBS now ranks ahead of rival brands like TBS and HBO, the survey reported.

On the U.S. network front, ABC repeated as the top “must-keep” TV brand, according to 51 percent of all respondents, narrowly beating CBS, FOX, and NBC.

That’s the fourth time ABC topped the 'must keep TV' poll since 2007.

Among men, CBS took the top spot, while ABC led in most key female demos.

The big losers this year were premium movie channels like Starz, Movie Channel and Cinemax.

The Canadian tracking survey reported all three brands suffered in all demos.

In the 18-49 demo: Starz declined from 34th to 41st place, while Cinemax dropped from 46th to 53th position, and The Movie Channel dropped 10 spots to 59th place.

The premium movie channels faced stepped-up competition from rival platforms, including online video, which is leading to creeping cord-cutting.