WarnerMedia Reaches New Distribution Deal with Altice
Continues coverage of cable networks
AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Altice USA have reached a new long-term renewal of their distribution agreement, sources familiar with the situation said.
The agreement covers the former Turner cable networks including TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and truTV.
Financial details were not disclosed.
WarnerMedia’s HBO Max is carried under a separate agreement.
On Monday, WarnerMedia announced a similar carriage deal with Comcast. In that deal, Comcast agreed to carry CNN Plus, the new streaming news service, when it launches later this year.
CNN Plus was not included in the Altice deal, but the streaming service could be added in a separate agreement.
For WarnerMedia, the deals might represent a closing of the books. AT&T is selling off the expensive media properties it acquired and WarnerMedia will become part of Discovery.
The Discovery-WarnerMedia combination will be headed by David Zaslav, a former head of NBC Cable. Zaslav has long complained that Discovery’s share of cable distribution fees is smaller than its share of cable viewing because it does not have the leverage that owning TV stations or sports rights brings. Owning WarnerMedia could bring more clout to Discovery in the marketplace.
Also: Top Distribution Executives Leaving at WarnerMedia
The deals may also be an audition for WarnerMedia’s distribution team. Discovery is looking for billions in cost savings when it combines with WarnerMedia and distribution is one area ripe for consolidation.
According to MoffettNathanson, Turner’s cable affiliate fees were down 2.5% to $1.56 billion in the third quarter. ■
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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.