Fox Reaches Retransmission Agreement With Altice USA

Nearly a week after their distribution agreement expired, Fox Networks Group and Altice USA have reached a new carriage agreement.

The deal includes retransmission consent payments for WNYW-TV, the Fox station in New York, and cable networks FS1, FS2, National Geographic Channel and FX.

Talks were contentious enough for Fox to run spots warning Altice subscribers that they could lose programming including NFL and college football games. And, for about a half an hour early Monday morning, the channels went black.

Related: Univision, Altice USA Strike Carriage Deal

But negotiations resumed and a deal was eventually reached.

“We are pleased to extend our relationship with Altice. We look forward to continuing to provide Optimum and Suddenlink customers with the Fox content they love. Thanks to our loyal viewers for their support,” a Fox spokesman said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Altice USA is focused on providing the highest quality entertainment experience at a great value, and we are pleased to reach a deal with Fox that ensures our Optimum and Suddenlink customers will continue to receive their programming," the cable company said in a statement. "We thank our customers for their support while we worked on their behalf to reach a fair agreement.”

The dispute did not include Fox News Channel and Fox’s regional sports networks including the Yankees YES Network

National Geographic Channel and FX are among the assets 21st Century Fox is selling to the Walt Disney Co.

The remaining assets, dubbed “New Fox,” will be focused on live sports and news, and analyst Richard Greenfield said that this negotiation will be the first test of how much clout it will have with traditional distributors like cable operators.

Fox recently paid big bucks for Thursday Night Football and for WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown. To pay for those it will need a big hike in retransmission payments it gets from operators.

“While we do not know the terms of what Fox is asking for, we have to believe they are seeking upwards of $1/sub/month in incremental fees given the cost of new content and the headwinds facing non-sports/live programming,” Greenfield said in a recent research note.

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.