Optimum broadband customers’ free access to newsday.com will end Sept. 15, and Newsday will launch an exclusive free trial offer to those customers for its digital content.
Under an agreement between Altice USA and Newsday Media Group, the trial offer for free access to newsday.com will last “through the end of the year,” Newsday publisher Debby Krenek said in an email to employees on Wednesday. Optimum broadband customers will pay $3.49 a week after Dec. 31.
Newsday print subscribers will continue to have free access to all newsday.com content, she said.
"Growing subscriptions, both print and digital, remains a high priority” for Newsday, Krenek said in the email. She added that subscriptions to newsday.com have increased 30 percent in the past year.
“The Optimum change presents us with a unique opportunity to grow our digital subscriptions, and we have marketing plans in place to enable us to take advantage of this opportunity,” Krenek said.
As part of the agreement between the companies, Newsday majority owner Patrick Dolan “has effectively acquired the remaining ownership stake in Newsday, which demonstrates his strong confidence in our business and in our future,” Krenek said.
Dolan, a Long Island resident, is a longtime News12 television journalist and executive. He is now senior network adviser at News12 Networks. Dolan has owned 75 percent of Newsday since July 2016, when he acquired his stake for an undisclosed amount from Altice USA, which is based in Long Island City, Queens.
Dolan’s purchase of his Newsday stake came less than a month after Altice USA’s parent, Altice N.V. of Amsterdam, bought Cablevision Systems Corp. of Bethpage for $17.7 billion. Cablevision, which was founded by Patrick Dolan’s father, Charles F. Dolan, had owned Newsday since 2008.
Altice USA provides Optimum cable television and internet broadband services to residential and business customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Free access to newsday.com has been available to Optimum broadband customers for about a decade.
Starting Wednesday, Optimum broadband customers will begin receiving the following email from Altice: “Newsday is no longer owned by Optimum's parent company, Altice USA. Because of this, Newsday digital access will no longer be included as part of your online service. Through an exclusive trial offer for Optimum customers, you can continue to enjoy your Newsday digital access for 15 weeks at no cost.”
An Altice spokeswoman said the email will be delivered during the next few days.