After about five weeks in the dark, Altice USA customers will get access to the Starz premium channel, after the companies reached a long-term carriage deal that also allows the cable operator to sell the programmer’s standalone app to its customers.
Starz went dark to Altice customers on Jan.1, mainly because of pricing. Altice USA was particularly peeved that the premium channel offered its standalone app to customers for $8.99 per month. Altice USA charged about $11.95 per month for the service. What followed was a sometimes contentious back and forth between the two companies, including filing petitions with the Federal Communications Commission to intervene.
Those differences appear to have been ironed out with the new deal, which includes the full suite of Starz and Starz Encore premium linear and HD channels, On-Demand, HD On-Demand and online services across the Optimum and Suddenlink cable systems. The agreement also allows for Altice USA to sell the Starz App to their customers on the new Altice One entertainment service, as well as broader digital rights including TV Everywhere. The deal also secures Starz's packaging position and expands its subscriber base.
“Our goal is to give customers the flexibility, choice and entertainment they want at a great value, and we appreciate their patience while we worked to reach a deal that was in their best interest,” said Hakim Boubazine, co-president and chief operating officer of Altice USA in a statement. “Through this new expanded arrangement, we are pleased to provide Starz’s wide array of programming on traditional and digital platforms, and look forward to working with Starz to continue to serve the diverse needs of our customer base across the U.S.”
Jeffrey Hirsch, Starz chief operating officer, said: “Starz is very pleased that both companies found a mutually beneficial way to expand our relationship over the next several years to offer the best content possible to millions of Altice USA subscribers. In addition to the thousands of blockbuster and library movies Starz offers, we believe Altice USA values our company’s programming commitment to create and deliver premium quality original series that serve traditionally underserved audiences. By working together, both companies are in a stronger position to provide the best content and products to our shared customers.”