• Newsday Rejects Ad Criticizing Cablevision
  • September 16, 2009
  • Law Firm: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • Newsday has rejected an ad by the Tennis Channel criticizing the newspaper’s parent company, Cablevision, for not carrying the network.

    “Thanks for nothing Cablevision,” says the ad, which shows a tennis racket smashing a cable box. It adds, “You’ve dropped the ball by preventing your subscribers from seeing Tennis Channel’s round-the-clock coverage of the U.S. Open.” It invites Cablevision customers to switch to DIRECTV, Dish TV, or Verizon FiOS for access to coverage.

    The Tennis Channel said the ad, which ran two weeks before the U.S. Open, was accepted by all other newspapers it was offered to, including The New York Times, New York Post, Daily News, Westchester-Rockland Journal News,and the Record of New Jersey.

    Neither Cablevision nor Newsday would say who decided not to run the ad. In a statement, Cablevision wrote, “The Tennis Channel ads are nasty, unfair and intentionally misleading, and we don’t think anyone should carry them.”

    Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon told The New York Times that after four years of negotiations with Cablevision, the ad was “a court of last resort.” He said the network has received “thousands of emails” from Cablevision subscribers wanting to know why it doesn’t carry the channel.

    In its statement, Cablevision said Tennis Channel’s management was “only interested in money,” and it would add the channel to its lineup “tomorrow” if Solomon would agree to a fair deal.

    Why it matters: Media platforms have been known to reject ads that have the potential to unfairly injure other parties. But this ad is closer to home – attacking the newspaper’s parent company. Newsday’s action raises the question of the paper’s independence from its parent. On the other hand, the Tennis Channel, which ran the ads to build consumer sentiment for its cause, generated extra publicity by playing up Newsday’s rejection of the ad.