Scripps Networks CEO Upbeat About Programming And Economy

Add Scripps Networks CEO Ken Lowe to the parade of programming execs who are telling investors that the pay TV bundle will stay intact, no matter what consumers want. “We are not going to go to an a la carte business,” he said this morning at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. Bundled channels offer “a great consumer proposition.” He also doesn’t think that Sen. John McCain will “gain any traction” with his bill that would promote consumer choice. Even so, the head of the lifestyle channel company says Scripps’ relatively small size isn’t a liability when he negotiates payment deals with cable and satellite distributors. “It’s more about quality over quantity. Our six networks historically do more domestic advertising than peer groups that have twice the number…. Distribution partners are going to look more and more at what each network brings to the table.” He’s upbeat about HGTV as the economy improves. “People are feeling a bit better about their homes” which makes them “more willing to watch [shows about] home improvement projects.” His show Love It Or List It “is doing a great job.” There was no mention of the axing of celebrity chef Paula Deen in the discussion about Food Network’s recent ratings slide. But Lowe says that the programming for the fall is “impressive” and promised that “we’ll see some improvement.” The company is still interested in buying Tribune’s stake in the channel, but says that there are no active discussions now while Tribune is preoccupied with an effort to spin off its newspapers and expands its portfolio of TV stations.

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