Altice USA plans to offer its Android TV-based 'Optimum Stream' platform across its full footprint this year. The company also has interest in the sports bundle from Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery, says CEO Dennis Mathew.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 4, 2024

3 Min Read
Altice USA Optimum Stream on multiple screens
(Source: Altice USA)

Video has long been a pain point for all US cable operators, but Altice USA intends to adjust to the market with more flexible pricing and packaging later this year, alongside the wider rollout of its "Optimum Stream" platform, said company CEO Dennis Mathew.

Altice USA has made Optimum Stream available in its New York, Connecticut and New Jersey footprint, and expects to do the same in its more rural systems in the Western US, Mathew said Monday at the Morgan Stanley Technology Media and Telecom Conference.

"That's pivotal to make it available to all of our customers," Mathew said of Optimum Stream.

Powered by an Android TV device, Optimum Stream supports Altice USA's pay-TV app alongside access to various streaming services offered through Google Play, including Netflix and Disney+. The operator also makes it available under a self-install option.

Interest in sports bundle

Looking ahead, Altice USA plans to bring forth new video pricing and packaging options aimed at providing customers with more flexibility, Mathew said, but he didn't elaborate on the specifics. Altice USA lost 62,200 video subs in Q4 2023 and shed 266,700 for the full year, ending 2023 with 2.17 million.

However, Mathew did note that the company is keeping tabs on a new sports streaming bundle from Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) that will launch this fall and feature 14 channels alongside ESPN+. Pricing hasn't been announced, but Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch suggested at the same conference today that the new product is expected to generate 5 million subscribers in its first five years.

Related:Comcast, T-Mobile may also take a look at Altice USA – analyst

Mathew said Altice USA is waiting for the dust to settle on the new sports streaming bundle. But, he added, "we want our linear customers to have access to these types of solutions… I don't think we're there yet. Those conversations are not happening at the right level. Those are some of the discussions we're pushing to have in the near-term."

Addressing the Charter rumor

Mathew didn't have much color to add to last week's report that Charter Communications is exploring a potential takeover bid for Altice USA. He only noted that Altice USA is a "controlled company" and said he wouldn't speculate on what others might do.

"My number one focus is to drive maximum positive impact for our teammates, our customers, communities that we serve and our shareholders by accelerating this transformation," Mathew said.

But he added that Altice USA would look at potential M&A transactions "opportunistically."

"We want to focus on growing the core and not be distracted right now," Mathew said.

Related:Altice USA shares surge on report Charter is sizing up a takeover

'Evolving' network strategy

Mathew said Altice USA's network strategy is "evolving" and that it will not use a "one-size-fits-all" approach in all markets.

The company will continue to press its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) upgrade/overbuild in the Northeast, where it tangles with Verizon and now offers symmetrical speeds up to 8 Gbit/s over fiber. This year, Altice USA intends to put more focus on migrating cable customers to its new fiber platform.

Altice USA will also increase its focus on DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades of its hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks in the West. About 300,000 homes passed have been upgraded to D3.1 in the West, with another 200,000 homes passed on tap, according to Mathew.

"We're going to take a balanced approach," he said. "We're meeting literally every month looking at what are the opportunities ahead of use."

Mathew said Altice USA also hopes to accelerate mobile line growth, believing it can reach similar run-rates as some of its peers, relative to Altice USA's scale.

Altice USA added 34,000 mobile lines in Q4 2023, up from additions of just 4,100 lines in the year-ago quarter. The company ended 2023 with 322,000 mobile lines.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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