Cablevision Systems Corp. plans to start standardizing
channel lineups next month at its huge cluster in the New York tristate area.
As part of that shakeup, it will add SoapNet to its program
roster and replace Discovery People with Animal Planet, officials said last week.
One of the reasons why Cablevision is making the switches
-- which include grouping networks by genres -- is to comply with several Federal
Communications Commission and Congressional must-carry mandates.
Earlier this month, the FCC fined Cablevision $127,500 for
violation of must-carry rules involving the channel positioning of WXTV of Paterson, N.J.
To be in compliance, the MSO must move several broadcast stations, including WXTV, to
their designated channel numbers.
As a result, Cablevision must move a minimum of 10 channels
in most systems in the New York metropolitan area, which includes 2.8 million subscribers.
In addition to making those systems' channel lineups
uniform, Cablevision will also group networks by area of interest. Program services will
be aggregated by themes, such as news and information; children's programming;
sports; learning and how-to; and music and lifestyle.
As part of the changes, slated to start in late March,
Cablevision is switching out Discovery People and replacing it with another Discovery
Communications Inc. network, Animal Planet -- a change that affects about one-half of
Cablevision's homes in the New York metro area. DCI is now positioning Discovery
People as a digital network.
Cablevision is also adding SoapNet, the new 24-hour
soap-opera-rerun channel from The Walt Disney Co., and Speedvision to some systems.
SoapNet's rollout by Cablevision would be the network's first launch by a major
And Cablevision is dropping WGN, which it had carried in a
To notify subscribers of the lineup revamping, Cablevision
will send two letters to each customer's home, air spots and on-screen messages and
run print and radio ads.