Altice USA said that Meredith Corp., owner of CBS affiliate WFSB in Connecticut, has pulled its signal from the cable company’s Optimum TV customers after the parties could not reach a retransmission consent deal.
Altice had warned customers that it could lose the station, the second CBS affiliate in the state, if it did not reach a deal by 5 p.m. Jan. 13.
According to Altice, Meredith was seeking an “outrageous” increase in retrans fees. The blackout only affects a small number of customers in Litchfield and New Haven counties in the state – most of Altice’s Optimum TV customers are in Fairfield County and have access to the New York CBS-owned affiliate. But Altice said it will offer one free week of OTT service CBS All Access so interested customers can view programming, including the upcoming NFL Playoffs. More details are available online at www.optimum.net/onyourside.
On its website, WFSB said Altice has rejected its numerous attempts to reach a compromise. The station added it has reached deals with other distributors and will continue to try to hammer out a deal with Altice. In the meantime, the station encouraged Altice customers to either access the channel over-the-air or switch to another pay TV company.
“We have already offered to pay Meredith Corporation, the media conglomerate that owns WFSB Channel 3 CBS, a significant increase in retransmission fees for the channel. Unfortunately, Meredith Corp. has pulled WFSB from our Optimum lineups in Connecticut in an attempt to force us and our customers to pay millions more in fees, even as the number of Optimum customers who watch WFSB has consistently declined over the past three years,” Altice said in a statement. “Skyrocketing programming costs, particularly those charged by broadcasters, are the greatest contributor to rising cable bills, and we are working hard to keep those costs as low as possible for our customers. We call on Meredith Corp. to immediately return WFSB to our Optimum lineup, stop putting customers in the middle, and work with us on an agreement that is fair to our Connecticut customers.”