Altice USA said it expects to begin queueing up Viacom channels in former Suddenlink systems by the end of August, ending what has been a three-year drought for the networks in about 18 company markets.
Suddenlink dropped the Viacom channels in September 2014 as a result of a carriage dispute when the distributor was an independent company. When Altice N.V. purchased Suddenlink in December 2015, the networks were still dark.
In May, Altice USA reached a company-wide agreement with Viacom that would return the channels to the former Suddenlink's subscribers.
In a conference call with reporters prior to releasing its second quarter results, Altice USA chairman Dexter Goei said up to 16 Viacom channels will return to customers beginning at the end of August. He added that the roll-out will be through about 18 different markets, with 90% of the job complete by the end of the year.
On the call, Goei said he expects the return of the networks to have a positive impact on Suddenlink customers as will the expected rollout of an all-in-one home center allowing subscribers to integrate pay TV video, over-the-top video, online storage, home media and WiFi- and Ethernet-connected devices into a single hub. Goei said on the call that the hub was “around the corner.”
“We’re going to have to do some engineering work around channel capacity,” Goei said of the Viacom launch. “Between the August launch and year-end, we’ll get to over 90% of the footprint.”
Goei hinted that the launch won’t be a quiet one.
“It is big news both for them and for our customers,” Goei said. “So we will be doing some interesting marketing around those events.”