Licensing deals for some Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI) channels ended at midnight New Year’s Eve for Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC…

Food Network's Cablevision Twitter Campaign

Licensing deals for some Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI) channels ended at midnight New Year’s Eve for Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Cablevision (NYSE: CVC). So why can Manhattan cable subs still see the Food Channel while their Long Island neighbors are blacked out? On the surface, it’s simple enough. Scripps and TWC agreed to keep talking and to keep Food and Great American Country live. Scripps and Cablevision stopped talking — and, in a first for the programmer, Scripps took Food and HGTV dark across the cable operator’s three million households. Since then, Scripps execs have said repeatedly they are willing to reopen discussions; Sunday evening, in a statement primarily aimed at placing the blame on Scripps, Cablevision said — sort of — that it was open to negotiations. That’s where it stops being simple.

The fact that Scripps and TWC are still talking and the lights are still on suggests that the gap between the increase that the programmer wants and the amount the distributor is willing to pay is narrow enough to cross. But Scripps says the 25 cents per sub per month that Cabelvision currently pays for both networks is already “substantially” lower than the amount paid for other top 10 cable nets separately — and less than Cablevision pays for some “less popular” networks from its own Rainbow Media. The programmer claims the “take-it-or-leave-it” CVC offer would leave the highly ranked Food Network near the bottom in pay. CVC says Scripps wants a more than 200 percent increase; neither is detailing the offer. The upshot: no room for movement, no extension.

Here are the statements each released Sunday evening so you can get the full taste:

Cablevision: Cablevision offered Scripps the ability to continue delivering HGTV and Food Network to our customers while we negotiated a new agreement. This is common practice in the cable industry, and such an extension occurred in the recent dispute between Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) Cable and the Fox Network, and in Scripps’ own negotiations with Time Warner Cable. But instead, with virtually no warning, Scripps took the extraordinary step of flipping a switch and removing its channels from Cablevision – effectively holding their own viewers hostage in order to pursue a more than 200 percent fee increase from Cablevision and our customers. The channels where HGTV and Food Network appeared on Cablevision remain available, and if Scripps really cared about their viewers Scripps could put their
programming back while we negotiate a new agreement. We believe it was irresponsible for Scripps to take the channels off, and it is irresponsible for them not to put the channels back on.”

Scripps’ response: Cablevision simply is not telling the truth. Scripps Networks Interactive has been trying to have productive negotiations with Cablevision for more than six months, but to no avail. Repeated requests to sit down together to discuss a fair market price for our networks have been rejected

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  1. CABLEVISION LOVES FIOS Monday, January 4, 2010

    Fios is going to be VERY busy on January 4th, with all the Cablevision customers calling to get their service so they can continue to enjoy HGTV and Food Network.

    Sad to think that this has been going on for SIX MONTHS…and that Cablevision is the company that pays the LEAST for those 2 VERY good channels. HGTV and Food Network are quality channels.

    Cablevision is using their customers as pawns.

    We’re not stupid, and I think after alot of folks leave for FiOS, Cablevision will also make sure that there are CONTRACTS and FEES for TERMINATION…because if they keep THIS up, they are going to need it. I’d rather have a contract with FiOs. At least I know they are willing to pay for quality shows and keep them on the air. Smart.

    If I want to watch Fine Living Channel, I have to pay EXTRA with Cablevision. FiOS has it IN THEIR LINE UP.. as well as DIY NETWORK…and YES. (remember YES? Cablevision took THAT one away….yet it still shows up as a channel that is included if you’re looking to get Cable TV. Isn’t that false advertising?)

    Shame on you, Cablevision. You’re losing customers..and your stocks will go down.


  2. All these companies have us by our balls. We are the eyeballs they want. and they collectively make money on both advertising and cable subscriber fees. If we as consumer pay for cable/tv, we should not see a single tv ad! I will be cancelling my cable service asap.

  3. It’s pretty obvious that neither of them care about the consumer. While they have their little spat, us viewers can no longer watch HGTV, and personally, I don’t like the way we were cut off, and will look for optional channels to watch. I understand Scripps wants more money, and it may even be reasonable, but they cut us off. We should stop watching their shows…

  4. Dolan’s are greedy. Period. How much did they pay to get rid of Stephon Marbury last year? They can’t spare a few dimes to carry 2 of the best networks on Television?
    Greedy greedy greedy. Gross.

  5. Tipping Point Monday, January 4, 2010

    Cablevision’s handling of this issue is an insult to its customers. Given that Cablevision doesn’t want to hear from its customers, I am doing the only thing I can – Moving to Fios.

  6. This problem is the best argument for competition among cable providers, at least until Steve Jobs or someone like him provide us a la carte Tv via the Internet

  7. I find it laughable that CableVision is so outraged over what they perceive to be an unfair rate increase. Really? Welcome to the world of your subscribers.

  8. How come I get the feeling that Verizon is spamming this message board to drum up business for FIOS?

  9. There’s always DirectTV. This is all just a ploy to raise the customer’s rates again.

  10. I only wish that I had a way to switch to either FiOS or Direct TV. I live in a condominium in New Jersey with no FiOS available to us and satellite dishes not allowed. We NEED cable competition. CableVision sucks in caring about what customers want!

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