Dish Network plans to take a hatchet to AMC on June 30, a move that would leave satellite subscribers without geek favorites like The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
Given that The Walking Dead ranks as Dish’s most popular scripted drama, according to Nielsen Media Research, why is the satellite service dropping AMC along with sister channels Sundance, Independent Film Channel and WE tv? AMC Networks blames the pending cancellation on bad blood between the two parties dating back to 2008, when the cable network filed a $2.5 billion lawsuit against Dish for allegedly reneging on an agreement to carry AMC’s high-definition Voom HD channels.
“It is unfortunate that, in retaliation for an unrelated lawsuit, Dish is punishing its customers by threatening to drop the AMC Networks,” an AMC spokeswoman told Wired by phone. The lawsuit finally goes before a judge in September.
Dish Network rep Bob Toevs called the lawsuit “a totally separate matter” and said it’s still possible an agreement can be reached that would keep AMC on the company’s programming grid. “The decision is based on what we see as relatively high cost for a relatively low viewership,” Toeves told Wired. “This is a value equation.”
Tussles between networks and cable and satellite providers usually revolve around money: A carrier wants to pay less for content, while the network wants to get more for its entertainment offerings.
Sometimes the suits work it out, but the timing of this particular standoff stinks for zombie fans and followers of Bryan Cranston’s Emmy-winning meth-dealer drama: Breaking Bad begins its final season July 15, and a Walking Dead preview weekend airs July 7 and 8 to hype the show’s third season, coming in October.
Fallout from this intra-industry chest-thumping has outraged some fans.
Dish boasts 14 million subscribers. The satellite operator’s current package deal requires it to bundle AMC, Sundance, IFC and WE tv into the same carriage contract. Through June, Dish customers who subscribe to the America’s Top 200 package or higher can find AMC on the relocated channel 9609. AMC encourages viewers to send emails or call 855-533-7263 to protest Dish’s decision.
Even with their upcoming court battle, Dish and AMC could conceivably kiss and make up on the programming front. “AMC does have examples of terrific programming and we’re happy to carry that content, but for a price,” said Dish’s Toevs.
No matter what, fans will be able to watch Breaking Bad and Walking Dead the day after their AMC airdates on iTunes for $2.99 per episode.
Article source: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/06/amc-dish-network/