DISH & AMC fight over fees


AMC NetworksThe four program channels of AMC Networks may soon disappear from the lineup of satellite MVPD DISH – the two sides are trying to gain the upper hand in a battle over carriage fees.

AMC is likely trying to capitalize on the success of its scripted series, in particular “Mad Men” and “The Killing” and “The Walking Dead.” Its deal with DISH for carriage of AMC and IFC, Sundance, and WE tv runs out at the end of June.

A Bloomberg report notes that was averaging 1.23M prime time viewers according to Nielsen this year, which it said places it behind channels like FX and The History Channel.

AMC has been advertising its imminent departure from the DISH lineup, and even has a website up which encourages DISH subscribers to contact the satcaster and demand that it move to keep AMC and its sister channels.

Under the header “Send DISH a Message,” it encourages subscribers to email DISH with a message of their own composition along the lines of:

“Let DISH and others know that you want to keep AMC, IFC, Sundance, and WE tv. Fill out the form below and we’ll make your voice heard. We will send this email to DISH, and others who want to know how our viewers feel. Every email counts!”

DISH’s response was to move AMC from a channel position in the 100 zones all the way down to the nether regions in the neighborhood of Channel 9600. DISH says that’s where it rightfully belongs, given its generally sparse viewership.

An analyst told Bloomberg that a prolonged absence from the DISH lineup, along with the lack of access to its 14M nationwide subscribers, could be costly for AMC. It was speculated that it earns about $0.50 per viewer per month, and loss of that income would add up to about $21M in just three months.

RBR-TVBR observation: This is a free market negotiation in which the FCC has no role – just as it should be if a broadcast licensee happens to be sitting at the bargaining table.