Update: 01/21/2010: Phew. It's back on: click
Late in the day yesterday we noticed a ticker running across the bottom of a Food Network program. We ignored it as we usually do. Those tickers don't usually have info that I don't already have (a storm is coming? really?). But this piece of info was a surprise: Cablevision would be dropping The Food Network at midnight.
Welp, so much for a Triple D marathon on a lazy New Year's day.
It seems that discussions on the distribution rates have broken down between Scripps (owner of the Food Network and HGTV) and Cablevision.
Why Cablevision doesn't just agree to pay more and then pass it on to their customers is beyond me. Isn't that effectively how they run their business? Isn't that how any business runs?
More amazing is Cablevision's release of statements which contain verbiage like "We wish Scripps well and have no expectation of carrying their programming again..." Strong words, especially if you have to take them back at some point. So maybe it's all over.
I can appreciate that the Food Network is no Fox, and likely has fewer viewers. But it seems obvious that it's a popular channel (along with HGTV). I have to think I'm not alone when I say that I will be moving my service from Cablevision to another provider. Most likely FIOS. The thing is, Cablevision is not only going to lose those cable customers, but also the internet and phone services that they've pushed to bundle up with it. It's unlikely anyone would switch their cable service to FIOS and not move their cable (and phone, if they have it) in the process.
It would seem that Cablevision's big stink and strong words are somewhat short-sighted, in this climate where FIOS is making inroads into their 3 businesses. If Cablevision could have just figured out how to charge everyone an extra 90 cents on top of the $160 monthly bill (psssst, you coulda done that and I wouldn't have even noticed), everyone would have been happy, rather than the alternative, which is Cablevision losing that entire $160. I'm no Harvard MBA, but by golly it seems clear.
That said, I should probably focus on something at which I'm more qualified to opine, like hamburgers. My colleague at iamnotachef.com tells me that the newly renovatived Ho-Ho-Kus Inn has a good one. I'll see you there, after these damned holiday revelers calm down.