Many residents of
Come Sunday night, they will miss the much touted battle royale between Iron Chefs Mario Batali (with Emeril) and Bobby Flay (with White House Chef Cris Comerford).
Why? Because Cablevision has dropped the Food Network and HGTV from its distribution list, as of midnight, December 31st. This affects more than 3 million Cablevision customers in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas. (I never thought I’d be happy to say I’m a Comcast subscriber.)
Cablevision says that Scripps is being unreasonable in its financial demands to the cable company. Scripps says Cablevision is unbelievably lowballing the content the network gives them. Who is caught in the middle and who will pay the ultimate price? The viewer, of course.
Here is Cablevision’s Statement:
“Unfortunately, Scripps has decided to stop distributing HGTV and Food Network to Cablevision customers upon the expiration of our current agreement at midnight, December 31. We are sorry that Scripps’ current financial difficulties are making it impossible for them to continue our relationship on terms that are reasonable for Cablevision and our customers. We wish Scripps well and have no expectation of carrying their programming again, given the dramatic changes in their approach to working with distributors to reach television viewers.”
“Viewers love our talent and our shows, which is why Food Network and HGTV rank among the top networks in cable,” said Kenneth W. Lowe, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Scripps Networks Interactive. “But our valuable networks simply are not being compensated like top ten networks by Cablevision. The distribution rates Cablevision pays for Food and HGTV are among the lowest in the industry.”
Among Scripps’ arguments is that “Cablevision customers pay an average subscription rate of $83 per month. The monthly fee Cablevision pays for Food Network and HGTV combined is less than 25 cents.”
I think EVERY cable customer, anywhere, with ANY company, thinks he or she is being overcharged ALREADY for cable service. Add to that taking away someone’s favorite channels and I would be royally pissed. Food Network fans obviously think the Food Network should be included in any lineup.
Cablevision wants to wring pennies out of every deal and Scripps obviously gambled that consumers would fight back, when threatened with losing the whole gamut of new shows of FN and HGTV have been promo-ing mercilessly. It’s rather sleazy that Scripps waited until the AFTER the 11th hour to enlist viewer support.
They also tell you to call 1-866-695-BEST (2378). That turns out to be HGTV and they will give you the Cablevision phone number closest to you. I spoke to Ryan, who told me that they had received 100,000 calls today protesting Cablevision’s dropping of the Food Network and HGTV. Wowza!
The whole thing stinks. It’s a part of the larger puzzle that networks, cable providers, the folks who produce content, advertisers and so many others are trying to solve that gives everyone a piece of the pie.
Unfortunately, as we cooks know, pies can only be cut into so many pieces, before they crumble and splinter and no one gets a good bite.