Why Disputes Happen

Here is what you should know when a network or station owner threatens to take away your favorite channels.

Network & Station Fees

Suddenlink pays programmers (network or station owners) a fee per channel, per month, per customer.  When contracts come to an end, we negotiate new agreements, and most of the time, you never hear about them.  But sometimes, a programmer will demand a significant increase in its monthly fees.  In those cases, we believe it’s our responsibility to take a stand and help protect you from excessive increases.

Temporary Loss of a TV Station or Cable Network

Suddenlink does not take TV channels away from you during contract disputes.  Only the channel owner can do that.

In negotiations with TV providers, channel owners will sometimes deny you access to their programming and then blame your TV provider.  That tactic is an attempt to frustrate you,  and then have you complain or even switch to another provider.  But the real motive behind it is to help the channel owner extract huge fee increases, which will drive your bill even higher.

When programming disputes occur, channel owners sometimes spend millions of dollars on newspaper ads, TV and radio commercials that tell you what you could lose if your provider were to disconnect you from certain channels. But remember, at Suddenlink, we will gladly keep channels under our current contract, while we negotiate, until a new contract is in place.  The decision about whether or not to allow channels to stay on during negotiations is entirely in the hands of the channel owners.

Understanding channel owners’ motives when they start a dispute or ask you to switch providers is the first step to keeping more of your money in your pocket where it belongs.

Switching Is Not The Answer

Regrettably, none of the major TV service providers are immune from programming disputes or blackouts, and that goes for Internet providers, too. As long as TV channel owners feel they can stop the flow of programming without any accountability, everyone suffers – most of all you. In the first half of 2012 alone, programmers blacked out loyal viewers more than 60 times, and that number continues to increase. Even top broadcast officials now admit these interruptions are anti-consumer, and pressure continues to mount in Washington to stop this behavior.

Suddenlink Is On Your Side

By holding firm in our negotiations, we’ve held our annual price increases, on average, between 3 and 5%, which is well below the level that many channel owners demand during negotiations.   Some channel owners are asking for 20%, 30%, 50%, or even higher increases in what they’re paid – and often for the exact same set of channels.  Imagine the impact on your household budget, if we accepted these excessive demands for just one channel, let alone all the channels we offer.