Time Warner Cable is shuffling its New York City channel lineup next month, moving channels such as FX, Oxygen and BET up in the order and moving others such as CNN, Lifetime and Cartoon Network down a few notches, while also adding several high-definition networks.
Even in the age of electronic program guides and DVRs, low-number channel slots in New York are something networks pay to get, seeking a payback in the form of higher ad sales, according to people who do business at cable networks. Two years ago, NBC Universal was reported to have paid several million dollars to move MSNBC, USA, Sci Fi Channel (now Syfy) and Bravo into locations flanking CNBC (channel 15), while ensuring that then newcomer Fox Business Network (channel 43) wasn't adjacent to CNBC.
NBCU today touted the moves of Oxygen to channel 12 from 61 and mun2 from 126 to 42, as of Wednesday, Aug. 19.
"The new Oxygen and mun2 channel positions are extremely favorable and will greatly contribute to the networks' success as they continue to grow in both ratings and distribution," Mary Murano, executive vice president of TV Networks Distribution at NBC Universal, said in the release. "We believe Time Warner Cable customers -- our viewers -- will appreciate the easy access to Oxygen and mun2's buzz worthy programming."
A NBCU spokeswoman said company policy is not to comment on terms of distribution deals. A spokeswoman for Time Warner Cable's New York City region said: "Together with our programming partners, we occasionally make changes to the channel lineup. A number of factors go into every programming decision."
According to the cable system's Web site, FX, the Fox Cable Networks general-entertainment outlet, moves to channel 10 from channel 37, and FX HD moves to 710 from 737. Turner Broadcasting's CNN is moving from channel 10 (and 710 in HD) to 78 (778 in HD)
Other Turner services are migrating, too: Cartoon Network is shifting to 61 and 761 in SD and HD from 22 and 722. TruTV, the former Court TV, is moving to 79 from 23. Turner is owned by Time Warner Inc., a separate company from Time Warner Cable. A Turner representative said the company would not comment on the channel changes.
Oxygen rival Lifetime is moving to 62 from channel 12 and Lifetime Movie Network is moving to 80 from 62 (and to 780 from 762 in HD). A Lifetime representative did not immediately have a comment.
Discovery Communications might also have made some investments in channel slots on Time Warner Cable in New York. Discovery Kids, a channel being remade next fall via a joint venture with toy maker Hasbro, is moving into Cartoon Network's current channel 22 from 110, and Investigation Discovery is moving up to 23 (displacing TruTV) from 113. Investigation Discovery is raising its profile, recently hiring Henry Schleiff, the one-time Court TV chief, to oversee it.
MTV Networks-owned BET is moving to 37 from 42.
These channel changes affect Time Warner Cable in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, the cable operator said.
HD channels being added on Aug. 19 are: Big Ten HD On Demand on 471, Outdoor Channel HD on 480, Investigation Discovery HD on 723, Headline News HD on 758, Lifetime HD on 762, TCM HD on 782 and Smithsonian HD On Demand on 794.
Also, Golf HD is moving to 482 from 779, Smithsonian HD is moving to 795 from 789, VS HD is moving to 481 from 794 and NHL Network HD is moving to 468 from 795.
The Time Warner Cable system also is adding World (PBS Service) on 164 and Create on 169, a pair of PBS services.