Starz and Outlander dispute took toll on Altice profits

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

When Altice removed Starz due to negotiations dispute, Outlander fans were among the most vocal and active. That dispute took its toll on the Altice profits, but is it now all over?

January 1 was a dark day for Altice customers. The company had failed to come to negotiations with Starz over a deal to license the channel and that meant all customers lost their access. Outlander fans around the U.S. on the Altice networks were instantly angry and upset, being some of the most vocal over the decision.

It seems they were also among the most active, by voting with their feet and leaving the service for others that still had Starz as an option. Altice has shared its profits for the first quarter of the year, showing a small 1.2% growth. The growth is possibly mostly from the internet customers, as the Pay TV customers dropped by a total of 30,000 in that first quarter. While this is less than the 2017 Q1 losses, it’s still a large amount and suggests that more than they expected wanted Starz access.

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What wouldn’t have helped was Verizon telling customers to switch because of the Starz dispute. This would have pressured some customers into leaving Altice before the company had a chance to make things right. Starz also took advantage of an increase in subscribers directly to their online app. During January, the network chose to air an Outlander marathon with a Season 4 teaser. Altice customers needed some way to access that without their service.

There were also complaints from customers as Altice did nothing through their email support, according to some customers in Outlander Facebook groups. They needed to phone to get better deals on their subscription packages.

That dispute is now over. We’ll see next quarter if Altice landing a better deal with Starz than before will see an uptick in subscriptions and customers.

Next: Why is the Outlander Season 4 premiere in November?

Were you previously an Altice subscriber? Did you leave because of the dispute? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Follow Claire and Jamie on Twitter for more Outlander updates and news.