Fox & Time Warner Cable Make Up While Scripps & Cablevision Face Off

Cable customers in Denver and Los Angeles didn’t have to miss last weekend’s Sugar Bowl after all: Time Warner Cable  and News Corp. announced a deal on Friday that allows the cable company to continue to carry the Fox network’s TV channels, after Fox had threatened to cut off Time Warner as part of a transmission fee standoff. The details of the deal were not announced, but  Staci Kramer over at paidContent calls it “unlikely” that Fox got anything close to the $1 per cable subscriber it had demanded.

All of that is of little consolation for Iron Chef fans in New York and New Jersey. Customers of Cablevision didn’t get to watch yesterday’s highly publicized special White House edition of the show because HGTV and Food Network owner Scripps Networks cut off access to the networks on January 1st after Cablevision failed to agree to higher retransmission fees.

The spat between Scripps and Cablevision bears some resemblance to the Fox vs. Time Warner Cable drama. Scripps wants more money for its networks, but Cablevision isn’t willing to pay. Scripps is trying to get the public involved, and both are leaking details about the dispute to the press. Scripps has said that Cablevision previously paid around $0.25 per subscriber, and Cablevision has lamented  that Scripps’ demands would result in “a more than 200 percent fee increase.” Scripps calls this a fair market rate, Cablevision is complaining that  media company is “holding (its) own viewers hostage” by cutting off access to its programing.

However, there’s also two important differences: Food Network and HGTV may have some pretty good ratings for being cable networks, but people still care much more about their football game than about Ace of Cakes. In other words: Expect Cablevision to wait this one out until Scripps comes back with another offer.

Which brings us to the other difference. HGTV and Food Network are not on Hulu. Both networks only make limited content available on their web sites, and since both are cable networks, busting out your rabbit ear antenna won’t help you either. In other words: Cablevision customers that like to watch HGTV really don’t have any alternative – except, of course, for all those home design and make-over shows on other networks. Something tells me the folks at TLC busted out an extra bottle of champagne a their New Year’s Eve party.

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