Altice USA customers will have access to Starz premium channels for the first time since last year, after the two announced Tuesday that they have reached a multi-year carriage agreement.
Starz programming went dark on Altice cable systems Jan. 1 after the companies failed to reach a deal. The two had since been locked in a somewhat contentious dispute, with Starz seeking injunctive relief from the FCC. Much of the disagreement stemmed from pricing; in particular Altice asserted it was forced to charge customers more for Starz programming (just under $12 per month) than it would cost them to subscribe to Starz’s standalone app, which is available for $8.99 per month.
Those hang-ups seem to have been alleviated with the new deal, which allows Altice to sell the Starz standalone app to customers on the new Altice One entertainment service, as well as broader digital rights including TV everywhere. The agreement also encompasses 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. It also secures Starz’s packaging position and expands its subscriber base, the companies said.
“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,” Hakim Boubazine, co-president and COO of Altice USA, said in a statement. “Through this new expanded arrangement, we are pleased to provide Starz’ 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.”
“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,” Jeffrey Hirsch, COO of Starz, said. “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.”