Altice says Starz's cease-and-desist claims are bogus

Legal and regulatory issues
Altice and Starz's retransmission negotiations amped up as the premium network issued a C&D letter. (iStock/BCFC)

Altice USA has refuted claims made by Starz in a cease-and-desist letter accusing the cable operator of perpetrating the blackout of 17 Starz, StarzEncore and MoviePlex premium channels.

“Starz's statements are completely false and without merit,” Altice spokesperson Lisa Anselmo said in a statement to FierceCable last night. “As we have said, despite numerous attempts by Altice USA to reach a deal with Starz for continued carriage in video packages and a la carte carriage, Starz refused all offers, including an offer to extend our current arrangement.”

RELATED: Starz goes dark on Altice in first big carriage battle of 2018

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Late last week, the Lionsgate-owned premium cable operator issued a cease and desist letter to cable operator: “It has come to our attention that Altice is providing false and misleading information to consumers with respect to our renewal negotiations and the Starz signal,” Starz said in its letter obtained by Multichannel News

“Specifically, Altice is advising its customers that Starz did not engage in extension discussions with, and pulled its signal from Altice,” Starz added. “This is patently false. As you are well aware, while Starz was in the midst of actively negotiating the renewal, Altice unilaterally pulled down the Starz signal effective 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2018 without providing any prior communication or notice to Starz or its customers.”

In its messaging to consumers, Starz is advising customers to seek out alternate pay TV operators. For its part, Altice has been hammering home the point that the streaming a la carte version of Starz is widely available, including through the portal the cable company itself markets at optimum.net/Starz.