DISNEY PUSHING ALTICE TO PICK UP ACC/SEC NETWORKS IN NYC MARKET; SUBSCRIBERS WILL LOSE ESPN IF NO DEAL REACHED BY MONTH END

Disney’s (DIS) contract with cable operator Altice USA (ATUS) expires at the end of the month and the ESPN parent company is asking ATUS to carry the ACC Network, the SEC Network and expand distribution of the ESPN flagship channel (i.e. less skinny bundles w/o it) within the NYC market, as conditions for a renewal. Should talks fail, subscribers would lose access to ESPN. Verizon Communications (VZ), ATUS’ main competitor in the market would likely be the beneficiary should disenchanted subscribers opt to make a change. It is the first of several TV distribution contracts that DIS will work to renew over the next 2 years. If successful, the approach will help DIS stem the loss of subscribers cutting cable or subscribing to skinny bundles that exclude live sports.

Howie Long-Short: Altice became a player in the NYC market when it purchased Cablevision and acquired their 2.4 million subscribers. The company recently announced a one-year, $1.2 billion share buyback plan, that reflects the company’s confidence in hitting near-term financial targets and boost shareholder returns.

Fan Marino: More than 90% of NYC isn’t going to be pleased with the incremental cost increase associated with the addition of the ACC & SEC Networks; but NYC CFB fans are about to get high quality football, heavily subsidized by their irreverent neighbors. Now, if they would only add the Pac-12 Network…

ESPN Pushes College Channels on Altice in New Fee Talks

Author: John Wall Street

At the intersection of sports & finance.

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