Altice USA Turns Up Heat as Disney Deadline Looms

As the official deadline to reach a new deal with The Walt Disney Co. looms,Altice USAis stepping up the rhetoric, creating TV spots claiming the programmer is making up for overpaying for sports rights by seeking huge monthly fee increases from its Optimum customers in the New York metro region.

Disney began warning Optimum customers Fridaythat they could lose access to its cable networks like ESPN, Disney Channel and Freeform as well as the ABC broadcast network if it did not reach a carriage agreement by the end of the month. Optimum parent Altice USA countered that Disney was asking for substantial rate increases and would not bow down to threats.

The latestspots, airing on its systems in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, start with an ominous tone: “The Walt Disney Co. has a dark secret,” says a deep-voiced announcer. “It owns ESPN.”

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