Miss Your HGTV and Food Network? Yeah, I do, too! Here's what we can do.

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n229667289159_3654.jpgMy niece sent me a Facebook message about it and I didn't believe her at first. No HGTV or Food Network anymore? After an angry rant about greedy cable providers, I did what any good TV fanatic would do--I complained to Cablevision and to Scripps Network (via Facebook) and asked them to settle their disputes quickly and completely.You can check out some local stations (like WPIX 11 in our area) to get some of those networks' shows for free (those creative types are way sneaky!)but if you want real action, either join this Facebook group or call your cable provider directly to complain. This is the answer I recently got from Cablevision:

 

Dear Cablevision Subscriber:

Mr. Dolan has forwarded your email and asked me to respond. Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding Scripps Networks. There are several important points that we want to share with you:

 

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, ensuring no disruption of programming.

 

Cablevision did not take HGTV and Food Network off.  Scripps took their own channels off and they did so without warning. We were as surprised as you were that they would take this sudden action-- effectively holding their own viewers hostage in order to pursue dramatically higher fees.

 

This dispute is about huge fee increases that Scripps is seeking for HGTV and Food Network. They are looking for more than a 200 percent increase for their channels. In effect, Scripps Networks is asking Cablevision customers to bail them out of their financial difficulties. If every programming service demanded such increases, your cable bill would be astronomical. In fact, Cablevision's cable rates are increasing by less than 4 percent this year, but the costs we are paying for programming are increasing at double that rate.

 

HGTV and Food Network claim to be in the top 10 most popular networks. In fact, they rank in the lower half of basic networks watched by Cablevision viewers. However, we do understand that it is important for us to carry all of the networks that our customers want us to carry, but we need to do so in a way that does not dramatically increase all customer bills.

 

The channels where HGTV and Food Network appeared on Cablevision remain available and Scripps could put their programming back at any time 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.

 

We understand the inconvenience this disruption has caused you. Scripps knows that we care about our customers, and that is why they abruptly removed their channels. They want you to believe that Cablevision took these channels off. We did not.

 

Tell Scripps to turn these channels back on and come to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer.

 

We will continue to bring you the best quality and value in telecommunications today and everyday.

 

 

John Bickham

President, Cable & Communications

Cablevision Systems Corp.

Scripps Network, on their HGTV website, have some suggestions for going after Cablevision: check out this link to take action!

5 Comments

We just got rid of our family cable package and are back to the channels available in 1980. Most of the shows are available on the internet anyway.

We just got rid of our family cable package and are back to the channels available in 1980. Most of the shows are available on the internet anyway.

We just got rid of our family cable package and are back to the channels available in 1980. Most of the shows are availalbe on the internet anyway.

I am siding with the cable company on this one (I never thought I would say that). Scripps pulled the plug before they sat down to negotiate a new contract. They could have left the channels on the air and demanded back pay from Jan. 1. It is a stupid way to run a TV company by eliminating three million viewers, thier advertisers must be thrilled. There are more commercials on those channels than any other. I could care less if they never put them back on.

Looking at the economics of this dispute gives one a better picture. I do not doubt that Cable Vision is really at a price breaking point with their services and Scripps. But don't ask me to feel sorry. They are a bloated inefficient and bureaucratic organization and for sometime were either under or still are under the watchful eye of a court appointed monitor.

Unlike like Direct TV, Dish and FIOS, the Dolan Family which owns Cablevision owns two premier sports teams and an aging building called Madison Square Garden. Guess what? The customer is saddled with it. Cablevision users are paying for it-all those high end salaries, all those sexual discrimination law-suits with the Knicks (there are a lot of them-always a sign of bad management), and all the family toys (like corporate aircraft used for personal business).

Sometime last year the family decided to divest itself of MSG. It is going to take time to perfect a deal in the mean time the bills are due and the customer pays.

What that means is that if you can not use the other providers I mentioned you are on the average right now without promotions which always skews the picture paying a lot more for services monthly. I was just fortunate to get Direct back last month. They came up with a better HD receiving system, so I can now get a signal. I am paying $44.00 for the same service with better features that would have cost me $120.00 with Cable Vision this month. Next year when the promotion ends it will be $75.00. Is that still way too expensive? Yes, but better then Cable. Cable Vision tried to get me to switch back from Direct by offering to buy out my contract. No thank you and no surprise two weeks latter they lost Food Network. I do watch Food Network.

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