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Posts Tagged ‘Cablevision’
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…
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 Newsday.com’s readers are Cablevision subscribers, and therefore get to read the site for free anyway.
“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?
No matter how you try to sugarcoat it, trying to make people pay for online news content isn’t easy. And Long Island daily Newsday — already 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?
“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 newsday.com 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 Site –The Observer
Earlier 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” Contract –Long Island Press
After 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.
“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.
Food Network president on failed Cablevision negotiations –Entertainment Weekly
We’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
Photo via Teamsters.org
Rob 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
Cablevision‘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: Newsday.com 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 Newsday.com fee through a loophole in their service plan.
When will publishers learn: you never, ever want to mess with the drivers who are delivering your papers?
Then again, the latest company in question is Cablevision and they are talking about slashing 15 percent from what they pay drivers delivering their 2008 acquisition, Newsday, which notably is trying to drum up readers for their pay-walled site. So maybe if all the unionized drivers quit (Newsday in particular has a history of cutting delivery drivers), everyone who wants local Long Island news will have to do so by paying the online subscription fee?
Still, even without the drivers’ pay cut, the deal isn’t doing anybody any favors: the proposal includes longer work weeks, less vacation time and an average 10 percent pay cut for every union employee. Romenesko obtained a copy of the editorial union memo, which calls the deal “horrible and unprecedented.” New York Post‘s Keith Kelly wrangled a devil’s advocate quote from Michael O’Connor (president of the local chapter of the Graphic Communications International Union), who said, “I think this is the best we are going to extract from Newsday at this time…I know a lot of people are upset, but everyone has to look at their options.”
Union members can vote on the proposal starting Sunday, January 10, only three months before 250 contracts for editorial employees at Newsday go up for review.
Read More: Newsday Asks Employees For ‘Horrible and Unprecedented’ Concessions –MediaJobsDaily
Cablevision to cut Newsday’s pay, vacations –New York Post