(Reuters) – Cable company Altice USA Inc is employing a new negotiating tactic when it comes to reaching agreements with content providers on prices: pointing customers to programmers’ own streaming services.
The New York-based cable company announced on Monday it would no longer carry Starz’ channels to its 3.4 million Optimum and SuddenLink TV customers, after the two failed to reach an agreement on pricing. It advised customers to sign up for the premium cable network’s $8.99 online video service if they want to continue getting its programing.
It is unusual for a cable company to direct customers to a network’s online streaming service. But it could help cable and satellite companies during carriage disputes because it is easier to weather a blackout when subscribers can get the content directly online, Craig Moffett, analyst at MoffettNathanson said in an email. The move by a cable company to direct customers toward a streaming service demonstrates how negotiations between programmers and distributors are getting more contentious as the number of pay TV subscribers continues to drop.
Six U.S. cable providers, including Altice, said they lost more than 1.6 million subscribers through the third quarter of 2017.
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