Cox Media Group Nears Blackout With Suddenlink

CMG Cox Media Group
(Image credit: CMG)

Cox Media Group, owned by Apollo Global Management, said its retransmission consent agreement with Suddenlink is about to expire, and could lead to a blackout that would affect stations in six markets.

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“Rather than reach a fair and reasonable deal with CMG, Suddenlink may instead choose to adversely impact their customers. Now, more than ever, viewers need daily access to important and evolving information on the pandemic, and social and political issues,” CMG said. 

CMG said it has more than 100 distribution agreements in place with other major cable and satellite providers. It added that Suddenlink customers can watch the CMG stations by switching providers.

The CMG stations were blacked out on Dish in July and didn’t return until a deal was reached in December.

“Our country continues to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and, during these uncertain times, it is more important than ever that our viewers know their trusted local stations are there for them, providing the news and information they need to make decisions for their families," said Paul Curran, CMG’s executive VP of television. "CMG stations take pride in being trusted and vital resources for our communities, and we will fight to continue to fulfill this responsibility.” 

The markets affected are Tulsa, Memphis, Spokane, Eureka, Greenville-Greenwood, and Alexandria.

 We are currently negotiating a new carriage agreement with Cox Media Group and are disappointed that they are threatening to remove their channels from Suddenlink lineups in certain markets in an attempt to extract an exorbitant increase in fees from us and our customers, particularly in the midst of a pandemic when access to affordable local news is more important than ever," Suddenlink and its parent, Altice USA, said in a statement. 

"Cox Media Group is currently demanding higher rates than we pay any other broadcaster, and with programming fees being the greatest contributor to rising cable costs, we urge Cox Media Group to stop its threats and instead focus on negotiating a new agreement that is fair for consumers, especially during these challenging times," the statement said. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.