Posts Tagged ‘Time Warner Cable’

QVC’s Parent Puts $2.4 Billion In Charter-Time Warner Cable Deal

May 27, 2015

We used to cover the cable TV industry, and one thing we learned was that John Malone, the so-called cable cowboy and pioneer, usually found a way to get what he wanted. And he wanted Time Warner Cable.

Malone, via Charter, in 2014 failed in his first bid to acquire Time Warner, and the news accounts at that time crowed that Brian Roberts, the head of media powerhouse Comcast Corp., had swooped in and outmaneuvered Malone.

John Malone

John Malone

But when federal regulators indicated they would not approve Comcast’s proposed purchase of Time Warner, Malone had the last laugh, using his cable company Charter to buy it.

What does this all have to do with home shopping?

On Tuesday QVC’s parent and a company chaired by Malone, Liberty Interactive Corp., announced that it was going to invest $2.4 billion in Liberty Broadband “in connection with (and contingent upon) the closing of today’s announced proposed merger of Charter Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc.”

The press release said that proceeds of the investment will be used by Liberty Broadband to fund, in part, its agreement to acquire $4.3 billion of Charter stock.

Liberty Interactive’s investment in Liberty Broadband will be funded using cash on hand and will be attributed to the Liberty Ventures Group.

“We are excited for Liberty Interactive to make this attractive investment in Liberty Broadband, providing our shareholders with the unique opportunity to realize value from the proposed consolidation in the cable industry announced today by Charter,” Liberty President and CEO Greg Maffei said in a canned statement. “Through this transaction, Liberty Interactive has the ability to deploy a significant amount of capital and become a meaningful shareholder of Liberty Broadband.”

Liberty Interactive operates and owns interests in a broad range of digital commerce businesses currently attributed to two tracking stock groups: the QVC Group and the Liberty Ventures Group.

The businesses and assets included in the QVC Group are of QVC Inc., and its interest in HSN Inc.

The assets attributed to the Liberty Ventures Group include its interest in Expedia, Interval Leisure Group, Lending Tree and FTD, its subsidiaries,, CommerceHub, LMC Right Start and Evite, and minority interests in Time Warner and Time Warner Cable.

ShopHQ Names Time Warner Cable Vet Landel Hobbs To Board

March 15, 2014

ShopHQ, apparently as part of its effort to fend off a hostile shareholder group, has named two new directors to its board, including Time Warner Cable veteran Landel Hobbs, the company said Thursday.

In addition to Hobbs, the No. 3 home shopping network also appointed Lowell Robinson to its board, which now has eight directors, seven of whom are independent.

In a blast from the past when we covered the cable TV industry, here is Hobbs’s bio. He has 18 years of experience in the media and telecommunications sectors, including financial, strategic and operational leadership roles.

Hobbs is currently chief executive officer of LCH Enterprises LLC, a consulting firm that operates in the broader telecommunications and media space.

Before that, Hobbs was chief operating officer of Time Warner Cable, where he led a major operational reorganization. While at Time Warner, Hobbs relaunched the company’s commercial line of business in 2009, and was responsible for Time Warner Cable’s rebranding efforts and its creation of proprietary customer segmentation, pricing architecture and yield management.

Hobbs will serve on ShopHQ’s Audit Committee and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

Robinson has held senior global financial leadership positions at Citigroup Inc. and Kraft Foods, and has been Chief Financial Officer of several public companies including ADVO, and MIVA, and has provided transformational management at both board and operational levels.

He has also served on a variety of public company boards, including The Jones Group, International Wire Group, Inc., and Edison Schools Inc. In his capacity as a public company director, he has served as chair of compensation and audit committees. Robinson is also a member of the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board and the Board of the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

Robinson will serve on ShopHQ’s Finance Committee and the Human Resources and Compensation Committee.

“We are very pleased to welcome two extremely accomplished and independent directors to ValueVision’s Board (i.e. ShopHQ),” Chairman Randy Ronning said in a canned statement.

“Both Landel and Lowell are dynamic, change-oriented individuals with excellent track records of performance in fields that are highly relevant to our business. Landel’s deep operating and management experience in cable and Lowell’s broad based marketing and strategic background, as well as his vast public company Board experience, will complement our existing Board’s skills and further support our successful execution of ValueVision’s strategy.”

Hobbs and Robinson are expected to stand for re-election at ShopHQ’s annual meeting.


QVC Launches Second Network, QVC Plus

August 23, 2013

QVC Thursday officially announced the launch of a second network, QVC Plus.

The channel, mentioned on a second-quarter earning call earlier this month, will be a three-hour delay of QVC’s live broadcast.

“One of the secrets of QVC’s success is that we offer customers the joy of discovery,” Mary Campbell, QVC’s Senior Vice President of Multichannel Platforms. “QVC Plus provides an additional discovery experience for our customers, and more ways to view our unique, ever-changing curation of people, places and finds.”

The new channel will offer the same customer service as QVC’s primary channel, but its onscreen graphics will say that it is a prerecorded show.

Future plans for QVC Plus may include special programming shown only on the channel to further expand QVC’s offerings. QVC’s international networks in the United Kingdom and Germany have offered multiple broadcast channels for some time now, some dedicated specifically to QVC’s prestige beauty offerings.

Here is who will be getting QVC Plus immediately:

* DirecTV channels 79 and 315)

* MCTV (channel 158)

* Kuhn Communications (channel 214)

* Thames Valley (channel 94)

* Cincinnati Bell Fioptics (channel 244)

In addition, QVC has confirmed carriage deals with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

QVC PLUS will be available to Bright House Network subscribers beginning in September in the following markets: Bakersfield, Calif.(channels 250 and 1250 HD); Birmingham, Ala.L (channels 273 and 1273 HD); Detroit(channels 188 and 388 HD); Indianapolis (channels 273 and 1273 HD); Central Florida (channels 225 and 1329 HD); and Tampa (channels 162 and 1329 HD).

QVC Plus will be broadcast live on QVC’s website, and additional digital commerce functionality will be coming soon.

Cablevision’s Vilification of Scripps Networks Exec Ken Lowe, One Of The Smartest, Classiest Guys In The Cable Industry

January 9, 2010

Scripps CEO Ken Lowe, Cablevision's villain

There are so many things we should be doing now, rather than blogging. We have to update our resume for a job we’re applying for. We have press releases to write for Saint Barnabas. We have freelance work from three different people, two of the assignments related to health, stacked up. We have to take our Christmas tree down. And we should be cruising for a man.

But we have to write about Ken Lowe. Lowe, CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive, has been named in the full-page ads that Cablevision has been running in papers like The New York Times and the Manhattan tabloids. The ads — and Scripps is running ads too — are part of the week-long war over fees between the cable company and Scripps, which led to Food Network and HGTV being pulled from 3.1 million homes in the Tri-State area.

Scripps wants a rate increase for its channels, and Cablevision says the ask is unreasonable. Programmers and distributors fight all the time, but it’s fairly rare to see a CEO singled out the way Cablevision has singled out Lowe, kind of making the business battle personal.

Cablevision’s ads claim that “Lowe is demanding a $20 million rate increase for Food Network and HGTV.” It makes it sound like Lowe is right at the negotiating table, pounding his fist. That’s not how it works.

We know all is fair in love and war, and Scripps had celebrity chef Bobby Flay doing anti-Cablevision radio spots for it, but the attack on Lowe seem like a low blow, no pun intended, by the cable company. The ads cast Lowe as the nasty, money-grubbing bogeyman in all of this.

We’ve known Lowe for almost two decades, from reporting on the cable industry. He was always one of the smartest, nicest, classiest, frankest, friendliest programmers we have ever met. He’s well-respected in the media business. His background was radio, and his college roommate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was Rick Dees, the well-known disc jockey.

A veteran broadcaster working at Scripps, Lowe founded and launched HGTV in 1994, and managed Food Network, which Scripps holds a majority stake in. He built an empire of lifestyle cable networks, but admitted to my former editor, Marianne Paskowski, that he once feared being fired by Scripps.

We remember going with Paskowski to interview Lowe at a cable trade show. It was fun, he was bright, and it didn’t hurt that Lowe, now 59, was easy on the eyes. We know that’s unprofessional to say, but what the hell.

He is a Southerner — we hear he was raised on a tobacco farm — but Southern charm doesn’t usually work with us. Folks from New Jersey are “loud and proud,” and don’t beat around the bush. There is no gentility or many manners in the New York metro region.

We often say that we’d rather have someone tell us the truth than be nice to our face, and then talk about us behind our backs. And since we’ve been stabbed in the back by a Southerner who had lots of folksy stories and an accent, we know what we’re talking about.

We don’t know how Lowe treated his employees — we did hear he liked to send e-mails at 2 in the morning. We hear Scripps doesn’t pay producers much. But with us, Lowe was always a pleasure to interview and deal with.

Scripps’ battle with Cablevision relates to the seeds of Food Network, we believe. As we remember, Food Network was free to cable operators for a long period, it may have been 10 years, surviving just by selling advertising. Most cable networks have two revenue streams — license fees from cable companies and advertising.

Now, Scripps is trying to get Food Network caught up, in terms of price, with other cable networks. But times are tough, and distributors like Cablevision don’t want to pay double-digit price hikes.

It’s as if you started a job at a low salary five years ago, and went to your boss today and asked for a big salary increase so you could be at a par with your colleagues. It’s a tough economy, budgets are tight, and your boss doesn’t care if your salary is less than everyone else.

Wall Street analyst Rich Greenfield has written that Scripps underestimated Cablevision’s resolve and unpredictability, and we think that’s true, too.

Anyway, contract negotiations are usually handled by a cable channel’s affiliate sale team, and in the case of Scripps it is Lynne Costantini, who used to work in programming at Time Warner Cable.

She was expected to be named head of programming at Time Warner, but instead a woman named Melinda Witmer got the job. Witmer was in the news recently because she negotiated the new Time Warner-Fox deal — averting a massive blackout of Fox TV stations — with Fox Cable’s affiliate chief Mike Hopkins.

For all the vitriole of the retransmission-consent negotiations between Time Warner and Fox, we don’t think any executives’ names turned up in any ads, the way that Lowe’s name has in Cablevision’s.

We have interviewed Costantini, Witmer and even broke bread and shared a few cocktails with Hopkins in Las Vegas. They’re all smart, civil folks, like Lowe.

We’re hoping that Cablevision will turn down the volume in its dispute with Scripps, and give Lowe a break. Even wars have rules. We wish Cablevision would abide by them.

In the meantime, every couple of days we have to call our sister Karen or our parents, who are among Cablevision’s 900,000 households in Jersey, to see what the cable company is running on the crawl on Food Network and HGTV’s former channel slots.