Cable Operators

Scripps, Cablevision Reach Contract Accord

1/21/2010 5:02 PM Eastern

HGTV and Food Network are back on Cablevision's programming menu.

The New York metro area's predominant cable operator and Scripps Networks Interactive have reached an agreement, terms of which were not disclosed, that will return HGTV and Food Network to Cablevision's area.

The networks, pulled by Scripps in a contract dispute with the dawn of the new year, were expected to reappear  before Cablevision subscribers by 6 p.m. (ET), according to a spokesman for the MSO.

 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Scripps had said it was charging Cablevision 25 cents per subscriber per month for the two networks. Cablevision had countered that Scripps was demanding a 200% increase in the price paid to around 75 cents per subscriber per month.

Scripps spokeswoman Cindy McConkey declined to comment on the deal as did Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella.
The agreement, which sources said was a multi-year deal, ends what at times had been a contentious negotiating period. Early on in the fight, Food Network president Brooke Johnson said that Cablevision was trying to bully the network into accepting an inferior deal and had refused to come to the negotiating table. Cablevision countered with accusations of price gouging and dismissed the networks as largely unnecessary, claiming only a small percentage of its subscribers even watched the channel.
The two did make a brief return to the negotiating table on Jan. 6, holding a meeting that both side called "constructive."
And like many carriage battles, all was quickly forgiven once a deal was made.
Negotiations however, must have gone up to the last minute -- Scripps announced on Jan. 20 that it would air encore presentations of HGTV's House Hunters and Food's Iron Chef America on Sunday Jan. 24 on New York broadcast station WPIX.  That airing is apparently no longer needed.

"This is great news for all those television viewers in the New York tri-state region who enjoy Food Network and HGTV," said John Lansing, executive vice president of Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. and president of the company's Scripps Networks operating division, in a statement. "This is the resolution everyone wanted. Cablevision has been a valued distribution partner and we're gratified that together we were able to reach a successful conclusion that will benefit their customers and viewers of our networks."

"We'd like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we worked with Scripps to reach an agreement that is fair," added John Bickham, Cablevision's president of cable and communications. "Food Network and HGTV have strong and loyal followings and we are pleased that both channels are back where they belong on Cablevision and available to our customers in both standard-definition and free HD."

September