Fox Networks Group is sounding the alarm to viewers in a carriage dispute with cable operator Altice USA as a Sept. 30 contract deadline looms for FX, Fox Sports 1, Fox’s New York O&O and National Geographic Channels.
Fox began airing warning spots on select channels on Altice USA systems Sunday in the New York City area to warn viewers of a potential blackout coming.
As ever in cable carriage disputes, Fox accused Altice of dragging its heels in the negotiations and failing to come to the table in good faith. Altice, as ever, said Fox was seeking to exorbitant fee hikes for a new contract. The contract coming up does not cover Fox News or the YES Network, which carries New York Yankees games and other local sports. But the loss of access to post-season MLB and NFL games across WNYW New York and Fox Sports was a big part of Fox’s sell to viewers.
“We are disappointed that despite our repeated efforts to reach a deal over the past several months, Altice refused to engage in any substantive discussion until just last week and is now asking for preferential treatment that’s totally out of step with the marketplace,” Fox said in a statement. “We feel it’s our responsibility to inform Altice’s customers that as a result, they may lose access to Fox, FX, FS1, National Geographic and more, including NFL games on Fox, MLB post-season action on Fox.”
Altice said that negotiations were ongoing.
“We are currently negotiating with 21st Century Fox and are disappointed that they have started threatening to black out certain channels in an effort to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in new fees from us and our customers,” Altice said in a statement. “Programming costs are the greatest contributor to rising cable costs, and we urge Fox to stop its threats and instead focus on negotiating an agreement that is fair for consumers.”
Altice, which acquired Cablevision in 2016, serves about 2.4 million video subscribers in the New York City area. The dispute for the cable channels also spreads across Altice USA’s larger footprint of about 3.5 million video subscribers in Midwestern and Southwestern markets.