Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Cablevision/Food Network Dispute - Is What Women Want Not Important?

I can’t help thinking that this battle between Cablevision and Scripps smacks of something other than pure dollars and cents.

As I think about the several millions of people that are being deprived of the Food Network and HGTV, I’m also thinking, “Who are these people?” While I’m only going by intuition here, I think it’s fair to assume that the majority of FN and HGTV watchers are female.

I just can’t get away from the conclusion that THAT very fact is making Cablevision less willing to negotiate. (And, yes, there are plenty of men who watch food and home programming, but I have to believe that women outnumber them.)

Am I really oversimplifying the situation by imagining the powers that be at Cablevision saying to themselves, “Oh, who cares, it’s mostly women who watch those networks. Whether we carry them or not is not a big deal. Soon enough, Scripps will grow tired of this fight and give us what we want“? Reportedly, what Scripps wants to is to increase its cut of the action by mere pennies.

What makes me even surer that garden variety misogyny is, at least, a PART of the problem is the alacrity with which Time Warner resolved its own dispute with Fox.

Of course, Fox has millions more viewers, but who are those viewers and what are they passionate about? MEN and SPORTS. Can you imagine their outrage if the Sugar Bowl hadn’t been broadcast on Fox on New Year’s Day?

THAT outrage is taken much more seriously than women’s displeasure at being separated from their little cooking or home decorating shows.

Naturally, there are many factors at play, but undervaluing women’s wants and needs is not unusual by any means. Women are still paid less than men, even though colleges and universities are now tipping the scale at female majorities. A woman can be a viable presidential candidate...finally, but she’s still subjected to more slings and arrows than a man is - all the time having to have the perfect hair, makeup and wardrobe that is so completely outside the purview of a man’s candidacy. (Do I STILL sound bitter? Sorry about that.)

Why are we (as women) often made to feel that our wishes, our aspirations, our ambitions are worth just a little less than a man’s? And that includes our cable networks. I’m just saying if the Food Network were the Football Network, maybe Cablevision would have been more likely to stay at the bargaining table.


Andrew said...

You should follow up after checking out Vanity Fair Columnist Michael Wolff's blog post today! See here: Best, Andrew

Nutmeg Nanny said...

I'm with you on the whole glass ceiling debate.

Now onto the TV problem. Luckily I have Time Warner but at work I have Cablevision. Of course the only two channels I watch are HGTV and FN. The thing that makes me more angry at Scripps than Cabelvision is the fact that THEY pulled their programing. Cablevision didn't pull it. I realize I don't work in the TV world but I think I would be annoyed if Scripps came to me and asked for a 200% increase in their fees. Oh well I guess. More than likely they will settle their dispute and Cabelvision customers will have to pay more. I have seen it time and time again with other debates....YES Network, Fox, NFL Network, etc.

Sue said...

Hi Andrew,
That's so funny. I JUST saw Michael Wolff on CNBC talking about his mother missing the Food Network and I went to his blog.

I feel sorry for his mom and all the others. I guess the only thing for her to do now is to take up watching football, because no cable service would ever take THAT away!

Hi NN,
Happy New Year!

Scripps has an explanation of their actions here:

Scripps claims that Cablevision wasn't willing to negotiate AT ALL and they said take our offer or leave it. Since there seemed to be no chance of working it out with that response, Scripps DID pull their programming. I do wish that Scripps had given Cablevision 30 days to change their minds, but I suppose their thinking was that they would get more consumer outrage this way.

You are sooo right, it's the consumer who will ultimately pay. Cable bills only go up, never down.

Lys said...

Sue - having worked in cable before, I had to side with Scripps on this one. They had to pull the programming because Cablevision is being unreasonable. I had to deal with them when they harbored a cable theft dealer and, quite frankly, they were idiots then. That dealer kept coming in our footprint and made our job 10x more difficult and Cablevision had a "it's our way or the highway". I'm sure that they probably have the same inept legal type team working for them that were "negotiating" this deal. And you are right on the line of thinking "Well it's only women - who cares". Sounds like some old fuddy duddy old boy network thinkin' to me.

Kathy and Judy said...

I have Charter, which I hate with a passion, but intertia has kind of kept me with them. All it would take is a good shove like them blacking out one of the channels I watch and I would be back with the dish so fast their dvr would be spinning! I think Cablevision has shot themselves in the foot here...surely everyone in their service area can get dish reception! They are going to hear a large sucking sound as a lot of their subscribers cancel.

DebCarol said...

Well to all those folks out there who missed the White House Iron Chef challenge because they lost food network . . . you didn't miss much. Overly long, Emeril lost his cool, the Chairman was MIA and Nigella was the only judge who had any idea what she was eating, oh and Mario wore his clogs & bare legs to meet Michele!!.

Sue said...

That's interesting.

I just read on Sunny Anderson's blog that these agreements are for TEN YEARS. That makes it particularly outrageous the tiny amount Cablevision wants to give Scripps.

However this ends, though, it's the customer who is going to get stuck with higher fees - Food Network or no Food Network.

Hi Judy,
Happy New Year!

I completely agree with you. I would have had the satellite dish already installed. This is getting ridiculous. (And BOY was Househunters International great the other day! They were in Morocco!)

I guess it had to happen sometime - that you and I would disagree...

I do agree with the overlong part (wait until you see how long my TWO posts are!!!) and the clogs. But I loved their treatment of the vegetables and I actually had no idea that that garden was so extensive.