Altice and Starz forge new carriage deal, end 6-week blackout

Altice USA
Image: Altice USA

Altice USA has come to terms on a new carriage deal with premium cable network Starz, ending a colorful six-week verbal battle. 

According to a joint announcement, the deal includes the full suite of 16 Starz and Starz Encore channels, running on both of Altice’s Optimum and Suddenlink systems. Notably, the agreement also allows Altice to sell the Starz standalone streaming app to broadband customers, a flexibility the cable operator had been aggressively seeking.  

“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,” said Hakim Boubazine, co-president and COO of Altice USA, in a statement.

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“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,” added Starz COO Jeffrey Hirsch. “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.”

The Starz channels went dark on Optimum back on Jan. 1. Lionsgate-owned Starz filed a complaint with the FCC, arguing the cable operator wasn’t negotiating in good faith. The programmer also had its original series talent enter the fray, with rapper 50 Cent, star and executive producer of “Power,” rendering a glowering Instagram post last month in which he appeared to be stalking an Altice service van.