Updated: Cablevision, Scripps Nets Still Worlds Apart


Three days after Scripps Networks Interactive pulled HGTV and Food Network from the Cablevision menu, the programmer and cable operator have yet to return to the negotiating table. Instead, both parties on Sunday evening issued conflicting statements limning the origins of the stalemate, an exchange that offered little comfort to the 3.1 million subscribers directly affected by the dispute.

Cablevision fired the first shot, issuing a release condemning Scripps Nets for refusing to agree to an extension of their carriage agreement, which expired midnight, Jan. 1. The statement said that Scripps rebuffed Cablevision’s invitation to continue to negotiate through the deadline, as is standard practice.

Such an extension has allowed Time Warner Cable to continue to carry Food Network and GAC while the nation's #2 cable operator works out a new affiliate deal with Scripps Nets.

As Cablevision has it, once the contract expired, 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.”

Cablevision added that the move came “with virtually no warning.”

Shortly after the MSO’s release hit the wires, SNI returned fire. “Cablevision simply is not telling the truth,” the programmer’s response read. “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––even as recently as Sunday afternoon [Jan. 3].”

While SNI did not address the specific dollar amount it was looking to secure from Cablevision, the company revealed that under the terms of its expired contract, the operator paid 25 cents per month per sub for the combined networks. A 200 percent increase would bring the fee to 75 cents per sub, which would effectively raise Cablevision's monthly payment from $775,000 to $2.33 million.

Continue to next page →