Starz and Encore have been dropped from the Altice USA cable platforms after the companies were unable to settle on new carriage terms.
As of midnight December 31, 2017, Altice USA systems—which reach nearly 5 million subscribers in the New York area and in the Midwest—no longer carry Starz or StarzEncore programming. Since the last contract renewal between Starz and Altice USA, Starz began offering a direct-to-consumer streaming service for $8.99 per month. With this new subscription service, negotiations hit a snag for continued distribution in video packages and a la carte carriage.
Starz said in a statement: “Altice has shown an unwillingness to negotiate in good faith to the detriment of our shared customers, and they have removed Starz from their platform. We remain available to discuss a fair and reasonable agreement that will serve the interests of our loyal subscribers.”
Altice USA commented: “We are focused on providing the best content experience for our customers and continually evaluate which channels meet their needs and preferences relative to the cost of the programming imposed by content owners. Given that Starz is available to all consumers directly through Starz’ own over-the-top streaming service, we don’t believe it makes sense to charge all of our customers for Starz programming, particularly when their viewership is declining and the majority of our customers don’t watch Starz. We believe it is in the best interest of all our customers to replace Starz and StarzEncore programming with alternative entertainment channels that will provide a robust content experience at a great value.”
Starz remains available to all consumers directly through Starz’ own OTT streaming service.
Altice USA has launched replacement channels for customers who previously received Starz/StarzEncore as part of a video package, including Hallmark Drama, Sony Movies, MGM HD, HD Net Movies, Flix and Cowboy Channel. Certain customers will also receive a free subscription to TMC.