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Posts Tagged ‘Cablevision’

Cablevision Exploring Spinoff Of Rainbow Media

Lately it seems like Cablevision just can’t stay out of the news.  CableFAX Daily is reporting that the New York-based cable operator is looking into a potential spinoff of Rainbow Media to Cablevision stockholders.  The spinoff offers an alternative to selling Rainbow and Cablevision anticipates that it would be completed by the mid-2011.

In an official statement Cablevision said that the proposed spinoff would be “structured as a tax-free pro rata distribution to stockholders.”  If the transaction goes through, the newly formed public Rainbow company would include AMC, WE tv, IFC, Sundance Channel, and Wedding Central.  Cablevision believes the spinoff would bolster the company’s overall value and allow for more flexibility to “pursue strategic objectives.”

If the spinoff is completed it would not affect Cablevision’s local media properties Newsday, News 12, MSG Varsity, and Clearview Cinemas.  The company also said they are not exploring a sale of Rainbow or its cable and telecommunications business.

Upright Citizens Brigade Weighs In On The Cablevision-Fox Feud

The hilarious minds at Upright Citizens Brigade produced the following video in response to the never-ending spat between Cablevision and News Corp. Can you guess whose side they are on?

Cablevision vs Fox
Watch more comedy videos from the twisted minds of the UCB Theatre at

The Numbers Game: Cablevision Blackout Hurts Ratings For Fox Programs

Although it should not come as much of a surprise, the ongoing dispute between Fox and Cablevision has taken its toll on WNYW/channel 5′s ratings in the New York area.  According to a MediaPost report by David Goetzl, the blackout of Fox for Cablevision subscribers caused a tremendous ratings drop for Monday’s new episode of House.  Meanwhile, last Sunday’s New York Giants game and Fox 5 News at 10 p.m. have not witnessed as steep of a decline.

This week’s House delivered just a 0.8 rating in New York’s 18-49 demo, a 67 percent decrease from the previous Monday.  The blackout’s role in the drop off is reinforced by the level week-to-week ratings posted by House on the national scale.  Sunday’s 1 p.m. Giants-Lions game, however, scored a 4.1 rating in the 18-49 demo; just a 27 percent slide from Fox’s 1 p.m. Giants-Texans game on Oct. 10.

Similar to the local NFL programming, Fox 5 News at 10 p.m. has also experienced a relatively small ratings drop of 27% in New York.  Compared to the .93 posted on Oct. 10, Monday’s late newscast notched a .68 rating among 18-49-year-old audiences.  WNYW was losing ratings points prior to the blackout, so it remains to be seen just how influential the feud with Cablevision was in this instance.

Since the beginning of the now seven-day blackout, 43 percent of the 7.5 million homes in the New York market have been without Fox.  In addition to primetime programming, local news, and one Giants football game, these Cablevision customers have missed out on five games of the NLCS and last Sunday’s Cowboys-Vikings matchup.

With the World Series looming on Oct. 27 and Nov. 2′s election day not too far behind, Fox appears to be at risk of losing some significant ratings numbers and, of course, some major dollars.  Cablevision is also not in the clear as many New Yorkers may soon choose to take their business to another provider.  Stay tuned folks…

Cablevision Exec Responds to Low Subscriber Numbers

cablevision_logo_med.gifThere has been much egg on the face of Cablevision after its pay wall plan for was revealed earlier this week to have only 35 subscribers.

Tad Smith, Cablevision’s president for local media, reached out to Romenesko in an email declaring that the success of the pay wall initiative isn’t measured by the company in the number of people who subscribed to the $260-a-year service, but by “the change in unique visitors compared year over year in the New York metro area (our target audience).” And those unique visitors, according to Cablevision, have only decreased two percent in December 2009 compared to the same month last year. The slight decrease may be due in part to the fact that many of’s readers are Cablevision subscribers, and therefore get to read the site for free anyway.

Still, using a newspaper only to increase your subscriber sales isn’t anything to crow about, says Slate‘s Marion Maneker:

“Either way, Smith seems to be declaring that Cablevision’s $632 million acquisition of Newsday was simply to add another freebie to Cablevision’s subscription bundle. This was every analyst’s worst fear when it was announced that the Dolans had the winning bid for Newsday. Instead of expanding the subscription base for the newspaper and increasing advertising inventory for the cable business (buy a local ad on Cablevision and get a newspaper and Web ad as value-add), they paid a premium for some local content.”

So Cablevision is using Newsday not just as a newspaper, but as a way to sweeten the deal for Internet subscribers to choose their service. But that’s not to say that Newsday would be better off had Rupert Murdoch had purchased the paper in 2008. Whose to say the site wouldn’t be behind a pay wall in that scenario?

Read More: Newsday exec: We don’t measure success by how many people sign up to pay $260/year for our website –Romenesko

Cablevision Exec Defends Newsday Web Strategy –Slate

Previously: Newsday’s Pay Wall Experiment Yields Disappointing Results

Newsday‘s Pay Wall Experiment Yields Disappointing Results

newsnews234.jpgNo matter how you try to sugarcoat it, trying to make people pay for online news content isn’t easy. And Long Island daily Newsdayalready dealing with its fair share of negotiation problems between owner Cablevision and its staff — may now have to come to terms with the fact that its decision to put a $5 a week/$260 a year price tag on its site was a bad move.

According to John Koblin in The New York Observer, only 35 people have subscribed to pay for the site. And while it’s easy to mock those numbers, we’re more interested in why: is it because the people who pay to subscribe for sites usually do so in a national context (while Newsday is a local paper)? Is it the high price tag (or the hole in the pay wall)? Or is it that the content that Newsday puts out could be found elsewhere for free on the Internet? Or, most likely, is it because everyone who would read the content on Newsday‘s site can already access it as a subscriber of the print edition or a Cablevision customer?

Update: A spokesperson from issued FishbowlNY the following statement:

“Millions of Cablevision customers in the New York tri-state area and 75 percent of Long Island households, including all Newsday home delivery subscribers, now have exclusive access to at no additional charge. Internal research shows that Newsday’s Web site is an extremely popular new benefit to hundreds of thousands of Long Island Cablevision households.”

Read More: After Three Months, Only 35 Subscriptions for Newsday’s Web SiteThe Observer

Previously: A Hole In Newsday’s Pay Wall, Sees Pay Wall-Induced Drop In Traffic , Newsday Staffers Vote Against Cablevision’s “Horrible and Unprecedented” Proposal

Newsday Staffers Vote Against Cablevision’s “Horrible and Unprecedented” Proposal

newsnews.jpgEarlier this month, employees at local Long Island paper Newsday were faced with a tough choice: either acquiesce to owner Cablevision‘s proposal of 10 percent pay cuts across the board (15 percent for union drivers), a longer work week and less time off or face a possible staff reduction come March when over 240 editorial positions are up for review. The proposal is part of Cablevision’s attempt to squeeze $8 million from the paper it acquired just a few years ago.

After Newsday‘s Union (the Graphic Communications Conference/International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 406) voted on the matter, the Cablevision proposal has been shot down hard — 473 to 10. Says Local 406 president Michael O’Connor, “They’re very unhappy…The membership spoke, clearly.”

Newsday spokesperson Deidra Parrish Williams told FishbowlNY:

“The objective was to preserve as many jobs as possible and to ensure that Newsday remains a strong and viable company for its workforce, and for Long Island. These are important issues and they must be resolved. We are naturally disappointed by this outcome. We worked closely with the union to come up with a contract that is fair and equitable given the challenging state of our industry and our business.”

Read More: Newsday Union Members Reject “Horrible” ContractLong Island Press

Previously: Cablevision Proposes Tough Concessions For Newsday Employees, Teamster President Throws Weight Behind Newsday Staffers

Cablevision Customers Get Their Food Network Back

food network.jpgAfter a month of battling over fees, tri-state cable provider Cablevision and Scripps Networks Interactive have reached an agreement, bringing Food Network and HGTV back to three million subscribers yesterday.

Financial terms of the deal were not announced, but in the last month Food Network president Brooke Johnson said the channel weren’t asking for much. Johnson called the network’s additional fee requests “pennies on top of pennies,” explaining that the Scripps channels were only “trying to correct a historic mistake and be compensated for the value we think we bring to Cablevision’s customers.”

Bloomberg reports that Scripps sought a 200 percent increase to its annual fee for both networks (Food Network previously cost about 8 cents per subscriber per month on average) but Cablevision refused to pay up, claiming the costs would have to be passed on to subscribers.

Food Network and HGTV apologized to viewers for the disruption on Web sites they established during the programming lapse, and

“This has been a trying three weeks for all of us — most of all you, our loyal fans. We know that that many viewers have been disappointed and upset with the circumstances.”

Will Cablevision subscribers see apology commercials on Food Network, too? We’re guessing they’re just happy to have some of their favorite channels back.

Cablevision, Scripps Reach Deal on Food Network, HGTV –Bloomberg

Food Network president on failed Cablevision negotiationsEntertainment Weekly

Previously: Fee Negotiations Drive Food Network, HGTV From Cablevision

Teamster President Throws Weight Behind Newsday Staffers

james_p_hoffa.jpgWe’ve previously discussed the recent proposal that Cablevision has offered Newsday‘s editorial guild, which includes a 10 percent pay cut across the board, longer work weeks and a number of other unsavory concessions. And while the union has been vocal about its discontent, calling the proposal “horrible and unprecedented,” it looked like the staff was being backed into a corner: in March, 250 editorial positions will be up for review, which Cablevision could substantially cut or eliminate altogether if the terms are not met.

Taking an interest in staff plight at Newsday, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters general president James Hoffa told the editorial union, in a memo sent earlier this month, to not give in to the proposal, and that the Long Island paper’s staff would have “the full support of the 1.4 million member Teamsters organization in [their] fight.”

Newsday‘s owner’s long history with battling driver unions have not made them friends with many Teamsters, and the threat of a larger-scale protest (lead by Jimmy Hoffa‘s son) may bring Cablevision back to the negotiation table.

Full memo from James Hoffa after the jump.

Update Newsday released a statement to FishbowlNY regarding the union negotiations:

“We worked closely with our union partners to reach an agreement that would help maintain Newsday as a strong and viable company. Newsday is part of an industry that continues to experience significant challenges, which is why this is an important decision to both the union and the future of our business. We are hopeful that this agreement will be ratified in the days ahead.”

Read More: Teamsters president urges Newsday staff to reject proposed contract — Romenesko

Previously: Cablevision Proposes Tough Concessions For Newsday Employees

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New York’s Outside Television Names Emmy-Award Winning SVP

6a00d83453140969e20128762a988c970c-450wi.jpgRob Faris has an impressive resume: an Emmy-winner for his work on the Summer Olympics in Athens for NBC, a producer at ESPN and Madison Square Garden and, most recently, an executive producer at Voom HD, a Cablevision-owned network of high-definition stations.

Luckily Faris’ many talents will not be going to waste at his new job as senior vice president of programming and production at Outside Television, the vacation/resort network that launched 10 days ago. Outside, a collaboration between Outside magazine’s publisher Mariah Media and Resort Sports Network, will broadcast at over 100 resort destinations throughout the U.S.

Says Outside’s CEO Mark Burchill of the hire, “Rob is the strongest candidate to guide our new initiatives.” That might be something of an understatement, considering the producer’s accomplishments.

Press release after the jump.

Read More: Mariah Media and Resort Sports Network Launch the Outside Television Network –Digital Signage Expo

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A Hole In Newsday‘s Pay Wall

newsday.jpgCablevision‘s decision last October to put their Long Island paper Newsday behind a pay wall led to a lot of skeptics raising their eyebrows. After all, most newspapers that have tried charging for their online content have been major news organizations like The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, or niche publications like entertainment trade mag Variety.

And so far, the prospects have seemed grim: has seen a major dip in traffic, both from month-to-month and compared to last year, which has led to the paper having to issue statements to calm jittery advertisers. Newsday itself is currently in tense negotiations with its editorial union, which is expected to have to take a 10 percent pay cut. And to make matters worse, it was just discovered that ex-Cablevision subscribers using inactive accounts have been able to bypass the $5-a-week fee through a loophole in their service plan.

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