Four-of-a-kind pact

TW Cable, Scripps mix up 4-in-1 deal

Time Warner Cable has signed a wide-ranging deal with Scripps Networks that will funnel Scripps’ four 24-hour cable channels — HGTV (Home & Garden TV), Food Network, DIY (Do It Yourself) and the forthcoming Fine Living — into a combined total of 12 million TW homes.

The parties declined to discuss the financial terms, but in the past Scripps has paid cable operators as much as $6 a subscriber to get HGTV and Food into expanded basic, making them available to almost all of the subscribers in a given cable system.

All-in-one pact

The contract represents the first deal Scripps has even engineered with TW that encompasses all of the Scripps networks in one contract.

TW Cable said it will add Food Network to its systems in Houston, Charlotte, Tampa, Minneapolis and Milwaukee by the end of the year.

The company wouldn’t specify which of its markets will pick up HGTV but said the combined new circulation for Food and HGTV would come to just under 2 million TW households.

Right now, HGTV reaches 74 million homes in the U.S. and Food gets into 67 million.

Potential lures

For Scripps’ newer services, the commitment by TW Cable is to install DIY and Fine Living in 5 million digital-cable households by 2003, using the two networks as potential lures to get more subscribers to buy the digital boxes.

Scripps said that, with the TW Cable deal, DIY could end up in a total 20 million homes by 2003 because it has agreements with six of the top-10 cable operators.

Fine Living, a lifestyle network, will open for business in early 2002. Susan Packard, president of new ventures for Scripps Networks, said the TW deal could help make DIY and Fine Living “mainstays in American homes.”

With 12.7 million subscribers, TW Cable is the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., behind AT&T, which reaches more than 14 million homes.

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