Tyler Perry Chimes In on Starz-Altice USA Dispute

Actor/director Tyler Perry took to Facebook Tuesday to chastise Altice USA for removing Starz from its systems as part of an ongoing carriage dispute between the two parties.

Related: Altice Fires Back at Starz FCC Petition

Perry referred Altice USA's customers upset over the Jan. 1 removal of Starz to visit the website keepstarz.com to register their complaints or to call the MSO directly. Perry specifically referenced the loss of Starz’s popular drama series Power, adding that New Yorkers in particular make their dissatisfaction with the removal of Starz known to the MVPD.

The Starz premium channel has been dark to Altice USA’s Optimum subscribers in the greater New York City area as well as to Suddenlink customers since Jan. 1 after the parties failed to reach a carriage agreement. 

 “This is not right – you’re just going to take Power off the air – we love this show and you’re just going to take it off the air, and we’re paying the same amount?” Perry said in the Facebook post. “It ain’t cool.”   

Altice reacted by sending a previously released statement calling such tactics “unproductive public spin” to mislead consumers regarding the dispute. That statement follows.

"We are disappointed and surprised that Starz continues to engage in unproductive public spin to mislead consumers after they spent the last few months insisting on terms that would force the majority of our customers to pay for programming that they don’t watch. Despite numerous attempts by Altice USA to reach a deal, Starz refused all offers, including many offers to extend our current arrangement. We would be delighted if Starz would allow us to offer and promote their channels to any and all of our customers who want them, which they have rejected.  At the heart of this issue is our customers’ desire for greater flexibility and choice in our video bundles, and we will continue to advocate for their interests and to change the current model imposed by programmers. Luckily, any of our customers who want to watch Starz can do so by subscribing directly to their OTT service, which makes it all the more surprising that Starz wouldn’t enter into an agreement with us to help them promote their own product.”

Related: Starz’s Chris Albrecht Calls Altice USA ‘Disingenuous’ in Carriage Dispute’

The video comes after Power producer/star 50 Cent’s video post on Instagram this past Friday of him contemplating ramming an Optimum cable technician van in New Jersey.

Altice USA said Starz wanted rate increases that would make it difficult to compete with the channel’s own standalone app, which is available for $8.99 per month. Optimum charges $11.95 per month for Starz service.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.