Cablevision Systems Corp. CEO Jim Dolan kicked the ball in his Yankees
Entertainment & Sports Network dispute back to YES CEO Leo J. Hindery Jr.,
telling Hindery in a letter Tuesday that Cablevision is willing to carry the
channel on an a la carte basis free-of-charge.
'Cablevision will make a channel available to the YES Network on all of our
cable systems. YES will set the retail price. We will give the YES Network all
of the revenues generated by the channel,' Dolan wrote in the letter.
The letter may not move YES close to Cablevision carriage, since the
network's business model relies on ad revenue and an a la carte offering
wouldn't guarantee full penetration of Cablevision basic homes.
But it gives Cablevision a big public-relations win, as Dolan says he's
willing to carry the channel but he wants Hindery to set the price.
'I think it's a very masterful move that will and should shift public
opinion,' Paul Kagan Associates Inc. analyst John Mansell said.
Dolan's letter to Hindery was sent one day after Cablevision offered Madison
Square Garden Network and Fox Sports New York subscribers one of the channels
free-of-charge if they subscribe to either network. That was another move that
could help the MSO's image with subscribers.
'On a very personal level and on behalf of the cable industry, I cannot begin
to express my disappointment that on a matter of such import to the customers of
Cablevision and to the fans of the New York Yankees, an alleged personal letter
to me from Jim Dolan was given to all of the New York press before I received
it,' Hindery said in a prepared statement late Tuesday.
'This is not a matter that can or should be negotiated in the press, and for
months, we have asked Cablevision to simply treat YES Network similarly to the
treatment we are receiving from, among others, Time Warner Cable, Comcast
[Corp.], RCN [Corp.], Cox [Communications Inc.], Charter [Communications
Inc.] and DirecTV [Inc.],' he added.