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Cable vs. Scripps

No one should be surprised by the recent hard-ball negotiations between cable distributors and Scripps.  The Scripps’ ‘Food Network’ and ‘HGTV’ programs have unique characteristics that give them significant negotiating leverage:


These programs offer content that provides; entertainment, information and products to an affluent, active, targeted consumer “Home Maker” audience.  In fact, the “Home Maker” audience for these programs is as good as it gets in TV… middle aged working women with disposable income in charge of their household budgets.  These programs and their audience now trumps the (historic) mother of all TV genres’… the Soap Opera… because unlike the “Soap Opera” audience of days past, the “Home Maker” audience earns a living working out of the home, and has limited time to watch TV.


This last phrase bears repeating, and is tantamount to the current economic realities of the media business, and explains why Scripps is taking such a hard stance.  Let’s break it down:


Earns a living – giving them their own disposable income and influence over the home budget


Working out of the home – giving them strong motivation to make their home (resting place) as comfortable, convenient and pleasant as possible


Has limited time to watch TV – use of electronic (DVR) devices allows them to skip through traditional commercial spots, making product placements in “Home Maker” programs an ideal/pervasive advertising medium


This is not the last we will hear of this battle, and there are certainly more battles to come as content continues to spread across the media distribution spectrum onto the internet and mobile devices.  We’ll all be watching as the media content and distribution economic landscape evolves.

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