Disney, Altice trade barbs over United States retrans row

Cornelia Mascio
Settembre 25, 2017

Meanwhile, Altice said Disney had asked it for "hundreds of millions of dollars" in new fees to continue carrying ESPN and ABC despite a drop in ratings, according to Reuters.

Walt Disney has threatened to pull its programming from the fourth largest US cable distributor, Altice USA, if the two parties can not reach a deal before the end of the month, the cable company said on Sunday.

Unless the two parties come to an agreement on a new contract by the end of the week, Altice subscribers will lose access to ESPN along with all the other Disney-controlled networks, including ABC and Disney Channel.

"We are always working hard to negotiate carriage agreements that reflect the best interest of all our customers", the No 4 cable provider in the United States said in a statement. And Altice has claimed that Disney was seeking to force even those who do not receive ESPN to pay for it, suggesting that high fees were the cause of rising cable bills.

"Our contract with Altice is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming", a Disney spokeswoman said in a statement.

In a general statement sent Hearst Connecticut Media that was attributed to no single individual, Altice indicated it has offered Walt Disney "a reasonable rate" despite Optimum viewership declining "in the double digits for years" of ESPN programming.

Disney has a very different take: "The typical Optimum customer pays $160 or more each month for service to Altice, and the bulk of that money goes into their pocket".

ESPN carries live sports, such as "Monday Night Football", and is believed to be less exposed to the cord-cutting culture that has left cable providers losing customers.

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