SOURCE: Scripps Networks

Scripps Networks

January 01, 2010 01:28 ET

Update: Food Network, HGTV Enlist Viewers' Help to Get Popular Lifestyle Networks Back on Cablevision

Cablevision Refuses to Recognize Value; Subscribers Will Miss New Year's Premieres

KNOXVILLE, TN--(Marketwire - January 1, 2010) - Two of Scripps Networks Interactive's (NYSE: SNI) top-rated television networks -- Food Network and HGTV -- went off the air on Cablevision systems in New York City, Long Island and the Tri-State Region at midnight New Year's Eve after the cable operator failed to negotiate acceptable rates for programming distribution rights.

Cablevision's contract allowing it to carry Food Network and HGTV expired at midnight, Dec. 31.

As a result of Cablevision's decision not to negotiate new distribution agreements, Food Network and HGTV were dropped from the cable operator's channel lineup.

Subscribers are being encouraged to log on to and or call 866-695-BEST to demand that Cablevision put the two networks back on the air.

"Viewers love our talent and our shows, which is why Food Network and HGTV rank among the top networks in cable," said Kenneth W. Lowe, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Scripps Networks Interactive. "But our valuable networks simply are not being compensated like top ten networks by Cablevision. The distribution rates Cablevision pays for Food and HGTV are among the lowest in the industry."

Cablevision, which serves about 3 million television viewers, charges its subscribers an average fee in excess of $83 per month. Of that, Food Network and HGTV combined receive less than 25 cents per subscriber.

The 2009 Beta Cable Subscriber Study found that the average cable subscriber believes 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 Networks Interactive is asking on behalf of the two brands in current contract negotiations.

"The rates we are seeking represent a very modest increase when you consider that Food Network and HGTV are among the top networks in all of cable," said John Lansing, executive vice president of Scripps Networks Interactive and president of the company's Scripps Networks operating division.

Lansing stressed that Scripps Networks Interactive remains open to negotiating new distribution agreements with Cablevision.