Cable channel i24 News is getting a big distribution boost in the U.S. through a carriage pact inked with Charter Communications.
The Tel Aviv-based news operation is owned by media mogul Patrick Drahi, whose Netherlands-based conglomerate Altice has expanded into the U.S. with its 2015 acquisition of Cablevision and Suddenlink cable systems. The channel focuses on international news and public affairs out of the Middle East and Europe, as well as covering U.S. breaking news and politics.
The i24 News channel will be carried on Charter’s Spectrum Silver tier, one of its widely distributed packages. The pact is part of a news channel carriage swap that calls for Altice USA to expand carriage of Charter’s Spectrum News NY 1 regional news channel on its systems serving Long Island and areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. In addition to launching i24 News, Charter will expand the carriage of Altice’s long-established regional news channel News 12 Networks on its systems serving western Connecticut.
Drahi’s industry clout with Altice USA is the driver for getting i24 News on the air in the U.S. At a time when MVPDs are focused on delivering smaller bundles and lower prices, the odds are stacked against independent channels gaining broad linear distribution, particularly a news channel. Charter is the nation’s second-largest cable operator with a total of 16.6 million video subscribers.
“We are excited to bring our programming and in-depth news analysis from i24 News to Charter’s Spectrum customers,” said Frank Melloul, CEO of i24 News. “I24 News provides unique content that features localized news infused with global conversation and we look forward to becoming a go-to source for domestic and international news for Spectrum customers.”
The channel launched in 2013. It now has regional headquarters in Paris and New York City as well as Israel and broadcasts in French, English and Arabic.
Drahi’s interest in expanding the linear TV profile of i24 News created an opening that allowed Spectrum to New York-area distribution of the regional NY 1 regional cabler that it inherited with its 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable.
“By expanding our distribution, we are now able to deliver NY1’s hyper-local coverage of New York City news, politics and transit beyond the five boroughs,” said Dan Ronayne, Spectrum Networks’ senior VP of operations and integration.