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Monday, January 4

Food Network President Brooke Johnson on Cablevision Dilemma

I spoke with Food Network President Brooke Johnson earlier today via conference call regarding Cablevision's and Scripps Networks' inability to come to an agreement on new licensing fees, resulting in Food Network and HGTV going dark in about 3 million Cablevision subscribers' homes in the Tri-State region.

But first, Cablevision released a statement last night about the spat, putting most of the blame on Scripps:

"Cablevision offered Scripps the ability to continue delivering HGTV and Food Network to our customers while we negotiated a new agreement. This is common practice in the cable industry, and such an extension occurred in the recent dispute between Time Warner Cable and the Fox Network, and in Scripps’ own negotiations with Time Warner Cable. But instead, with virtually no warning, 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 from Cablevision and our customers. The channels where HGTV and Food Network appeared on Cablevision remain available, and if Scripps really cared about their viewers Scripps could put their programming back while we negotiate a new agreement. We believe it was irresponsible for Scripps to take the channels off, and it is irresponsible for them not to put the channels back on."


When asked about the assertion by Cablevision that Scripps would put their programming back on for the time being if they "really cared about their viewers," Brooke Johnson said Cablevision was being "disingenuous" and only acting in their own self-interest. "They'd be happy to negotiate for the next five years," said Johnson. (Scripps also issued a reply to Cablevision's statement.)

Meanwhile, Scripps has not encouraged anyone to switch cable providers, despite many in the region already having done so. "We're trying to take the high road," said Johnson. "We would like to reach a successful conclusion," she added, calling this ordeal an "anomaly" and "perplexing situation."


Brooke and the team at Food Network definitely seem upset over this whole situation, and feel badly that many subscribers in the Tri-State region aren't getting channels they're still paying for. Buttttttt, it doesn't seem like either side will budge anytime soon.

When asked about the possibility of streaming more shows online or providing content to iTunes, Johnson said she didn't agree with the idea of making people pay for content that they should be able to receive with the cable subscription they're already paying for... so don't expect lots of online content to start popping up.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for those of you affected.




At 1/05/2010 10:26 AM , Blogger Alec Smart said...

Looks like someone is not telling the truth.

I'll side with Cablevision on this one considering the greed factor FN brings to the party and how ethics seem to escape them most of the time.

At 1/07/2010 4:39 PM , Anonymous susan artist said...

I frankly don't know who to believe. They both are only interested in the bottom line-MONEY! I only know I'm disgusted with both.

At 1/09/2010 6:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Money is the root of all evil. Both Cablevision and Scripps Networks claim they "care" about their viewers... not!

At 1/16/2010 10:48 AM , Blogger Charles said...

I cannot live without FN anymore. If I had been a Cablevsion customer, I'd have to swap cable companies and in the end could give two sh**s. I'm the consumer and it is the responsibilty of both parties to please the consumer. It's all about the benjamins, baby! No "30 Min Meals", "Barefoot Contessa", Giadai, Anne, Tyler....I don't think so!!!


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