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.
Cablevision is trying to characterize our rate increases as exorbitant and our negotiating strategies as unusual or unethical.
Yet, every other cable and satellite provider in the country has willingly and professionally renegotiated a fair market rate for the rights to carry these popular networks. That’s why both networks can still be seen on every other cable, satellite and telecom system in the country except Cablevision. Under our current contracts, Cablevision pays us about 25 cents per subscriber for the combination of Food Network and HGTV. That combined rate is substantially lower than rates earned by other, individual top 10 cable networks and considerably less than rates Cablevision pays itself for less popular networks that it owns.
True, short-term contract extensions are often granted, but only when the two parties are engaged in productive negotiations and there has been substantive agreement between them. Cablevision’s offer was take-it-or-leave-it, and would still make Food Network – a Top 10 network – one of the lowest paid channels on its lineup.
We regret deeply the interruption of service for Cablevision customers who rely on us for quality programming, but we hope and trust that they understand that Cablevision can’t get something for nothing. Let’s be clear, we have been and remain ready and willing to negotiate. But until they will step forward in good faith, it’s Cablevision that’s holding their customers hostage.