General: Food Network »
As of midnight EST, HGTV, Food Network, and other Scripps channels have been blacked out for Cablevision subscribers. And folks, it’s not looking good.
Jim Maiella, Cablevision’s VP of Media Relations, just released the company’s OFFICIAL STATEMENT via Twitter:
“Unfortunately, Scripps has decided to stop distributing HGTV and Food Network to Cablevision customers upon the expiration of our current agreement at midnight, December 31. We are sorry that Scripps’ current financial difficulties are making it impossible for them to continue our relationship on terms that are reasonable for Cablevision and our customers. We wish Scripps well and have no expectation of carrying their programming again, given the dramatic changes in their approach to working with distributors to reach television viewers.”
A lot of people – myself included – are obviously pissed off. I’m a Cablevision customer, and honestly, I’m not sure who to to even be angry AT. Scripps, or Cablevision? On one hand, Cablevision keeps raising my rates and giving me less and less in return. On the other hand, exactly what are these “dramatic changes” that Scripps made in their negotiations? Were they asking for a ridiculous, unreasonable fee increase?
Cablevision is currently running a “we’re sorry” message on Food Network and HGTV, stating that Scripps refused to continue broadcasting while the two companies continued negotiations.
Considering it’s almost 1 AM on New Year’s Day, there aren’t many answers to be had.
10:40 am on January 1, 2010 – BLACKOUT, DAY ONE!
We have received over 1,000 emails from angry Cablevision customers, and Jim Maiella, Cablevision’s VP of Media Relations, has not responded to our requests for further comment. It seems we’re dealing with two stubborn, greedy companies, which obviously means this blackout could continue for a while – if not forever.
I also wanted to highlight this comment from Bijoux, who summed up the issue perfectly:
Cablevision is notorious for committing highway robbery of its subscribers and offering a fraction of what other Subscription services provide. Satellite TV offers many channels that Cablevision will not because it is all about money, not the desires of the folks who pay outrageous monthly fees.
As for Scripps and the Food Network/HGTV, their timing is impeccable. With no warning and just in time for their much hyped new season starting in January they are hurting their viewers and using us to fight their battles. I do think Cablevision is cheap with programming and expensive with their subscribers – thus boosting their own bottom line. And I do agree that the Scripps channels have grown by leaps and bounds in popularity – so they do deserve to be paid more than pennies. However, it seems like this was timed badly and handled worse with the loyal viewers as the biggest losers. I think Scripps should air the new shows on their website during these miserable non-negotiations like some of the networks do with their shows.
As a Cablevision subscriber, I obviously can’t write a site called Food Network Humor without the FOOD NETWORK. They have tied my hands, and I’m now forced to go with another cable provider. My options are Satellite, or AT&T UVerse. I will post my findings about their current rates & promotions here later, for anyone else who wants to dump Cablevision for an alternative.
10:20 am on January 2, 2010 – BLACKOUT, DAY TWO!
After 16 years of Cablevision pushing me to the brink of madness with their rate increases and awful customer service, the fact that they were the ONLY cable company that couldn’t negotiate a deal with Scripps was the final straw for me. So, I spent a good portion of the day yesterday researching my options and, ultimately, began the frustrating process of switching television providers. I had two options: Dish Network, or Direct TV. I chose Dish Network, simply because Direct TV makes you buy your equipment and I didn’t want to deal with all those up-front costs for a service I didn’t know if I was going to like. Dish will (supposedly) be installed tomorrow between 12-5, at which point I will be dumping Cablevision.
I wanted Verizon FIOS, but it’s not available in my area. Neither is AT&T UVerse, which currently is offering a $200 cash back promotion if you stay with them for 2 months. There’s no commitment, and you can cancel at any time without penalty. DISH, on the other hand, had no such deals. Even worse, you either have to sign a 2 year (TWO YEAR!!!) service agreement, or pay a $99 activation fee. I chose the activation fee, because there’s no way I wanted lock myself into a 2-year contract with a company for a service I don’t even know if I will like.
If you’re mad at Cablevision, stop wasting your time complaining about it on twitter and Facebook, and put your money where your mouth is. The only way to send a message to Cablevision is to cancel service with them. I did, and I urge you all to do the same.
I knew the people behind the scenes at Scripps were dirty scumbags, but using your customers to fight your battles? On New Years Eve? Sacrificing our interests to leverage more money for yourselves? I know it’s a common practice in television, but that doesn’t make it a fair one. I’m disgusted.
Perhaps Bobby Flay so eloquently said it best on Twitter:
Other posts on Food Network Humor:---UPDATE: Food Network and HGTV Back On Cablevision
---BREAKING STORY: Is Cablevision Dropping HGTV and Food Network?
---AT&T U-Verse Customers, Say Goodbye To Food Network
---Bobby Flay Annoys Cablevision Customers With Obnoxious Commercial
---Let The Food Network/HGTV Crossovers Begin
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