A three-judge FCC panel has overturned a previous agency ruling ordering Altice USA to pay Game Show Network $400,000 for unfairly moving its channel out of the expanded basic tier in 2010.
Altice actually inherited the issue when it purchased Bethpage, New York, operator Cablevision. Last year, an FCC judge sided with Game Show Network (GSN), which is co-owned by Sony Corp. and AT&T, with the former having control.
GSN argued that Cablevision engaged in discriminatory business practices when it downgraded its channel but gave favorable treatment to We TV, which was in the Cablevision corporate family at the time.
Altice appealed, claiming there was no evidence to support the ruling. And the FCC, now under different management, voted 2-1 in favor of the cable company.
“We are pleased by the FCC’s order, which is consistent with legal precedent and affirms our business decision,” said Altice spokeswoman Lisa Anselmo, speaking to Bloomberg.
The ruling could have outsized importance beyond a niche channel on a since-bought-and-rebranded cable system, with pay-TV operators making tough choices as to which networks stay and which networks go in the skinny bundle era.