Altice Exits NCTA

Top 10 cable operator Altice has had a sudden de-linking from the powerhouse trade group NCTA-the Internet & Televison Association.

Altice said of the decision, which was effective Oct. 1: “We have great respect for NCTA and its leadership and appreciate their partnership in representing the cable industry," the company said in a statement. "As our business interests continue to evolve, we will focus on direct advocacy relating to issues that impact our businesses and our customers, working with industry peers and other associations when our interests are aligned.”

Among those groups Altice can work through include CTAM, CableLabs, and the Video Advertising Bureau, of which it is still a member, at least according to their various Web sites.

European telecom giant Altice bought Suddenlink in 2015 and bought Cablevision the following year establishing a firm foothold, or more like beachhead" in the U.S. as it eyed other purchases.

“We can confirm that Altice has withdrawn from NCTA," an NCTA spokesperson said. "While we regret their decision, NCTA will continue our forceful representation of the entire industry to advance policies that promote job growth, innovation, and continued investment by America’s internet and television providers.”

A cable industry source suggested the move was not about policy or leadership but likely more about "frugality." The company will still get the benefit of NCTA's advocacy on issues of importance to large cable operators.

A source familiar with the decision who asked to speak on background said that rather than resources, the decision to leave NCTA was more about insuring that the groups it supports are aligned with key issues like retrans--NCTA has members with both broadcast and programming interests as well as cable and broadband operations.

Look for Altice to heavy up its government advocacy teams, and perhaps look toward mobile advocacy associations as it gets deeper into that space.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.