Another week, another carriage dispute that escalated into channels being pulled from a cable/satellite system. This time, it is the Scripps Networks, including HGTV and Food Network, which went black on AT&T U-Verse at 1 AM. The same networks were also off Cablevision for 3 weeks at the beginning of the year as part of the two sides’ nasty carriage dispute. In the summer, AT&T U-Verse came close to losing AMC in a standoff with Rainbow Media but the companies reached a last-minute agreement, preventing a blackout. Here is AT&T’s release:
We’re extremely disappointed that Scripps Networks won’t provide a fair deal for AT&T customers. Our team has been working for weeks to reach a fair agreement, but Scripps Networks ultimately refused to put in writing key terms that had been agreed upon verbally, leaving our customers without a fair deal as our extended contract expired.
Unfortunately, this is yet another example of a network punishing its own viewers for leverage in programming negotiations. Scripps Networks is demanding that AT&T pay double what other competitors pay — including smaller-sized affiliates — and has yet to provide a proposal that gives AT&T a choice in the channels we carry and pay for, despite repeated requests.
Scripps Networks also wants this premium price for inferior access to their content for our customers on other platforms, even though other competitors get this at much lower prices. With such an uneven playing field, they are harming AT&T’s ability to provide customers with a new video choice.
We will continue to fight for a fair deal to bring these channels back to our lineup because our customers deserve the programming they want, at a fair price.