Two popular basic cable networks owned by Scripps Networks, Food Network and HGTV, have been removed from Cablevision systems in New York City, Long Island and the Tri-State Region in a dispute over carriage fees.
Scripps says that the average cable bill among Cablevision’s 3M affected subscribers is $83 per month, and says it is getting less than 25 cents for both channels combined. Scripps said in a statement, “The 2009 Beta Cable Subscriber Study found that the average Cable customer feels Food Network is worth $1.03 per month and HGTV is valued at 73 cents per month, which is considerably more than Cablevision has been paying for the networks’ programming and more than Scripps is asking in the current negotiations. In fact, Cablevision pays itself more for smaller, lower-rated networks that it owns.”
“Viewers love our talent and our shows, which is why Food Network and HGTV rank among the top networks in cable,” said John Lansing, president of Scripps Networks. “But we simply are not being compensated like top 10 networks by Cablevision.”
Cablevision sounds like they expect to permanently lose the channels. It said, “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.”
Scripps is encouraging viewers to lobby Cablevision for the restoration of the networks on its basic cable lineup.