Dish Networks, the satellite television service, has decided to end carriage of AMC Networks, IFC, and WE Tv. It also recently terminated its relationship with the Sundance Channel. Depending on whom you talk to, the reason is either carriage-rate increases, low viewer ratings, pressure from Mark Cuban to make room for his new network AXS.tv or a $2.5 billion breach-of-contract suit.
Regardless of the reason, this is another example of an industry that’s fighting for scraps and hanging on to the status quo, rather than acknowledging that television distributors can no longer call all of the shots. The power lies (or will soon lie) in what consumers want, not simply what distributors want to deliver to them. Cable and satellite’s control over how, what, and when consumers watch is coming to an end. It is clear to me that those who recognize that consumer’s appetite for self-managed programming is deep, and stubborn. While no one in the industry—not Netflix, Hulu, Comcast, Time Warner, DirectTV or Dish seems to have the answer to providing what consumer’s demand, anyone who continues to fight for the status quo will surely go the way of the DoDo.
In the meantime, consumers get to watch, surely in disgust, as the likes of Dish and AMC bicker over things they don’t care about—like better programming, delivered across multiple devices, at lower costs.
Check out the bickering:
“Dish customers have lost some of their favorite shows because of an unrelated lawsuit which has nothing at all to do with our programming,” according to an AMC statement. “Dish customers will not be able to watch the new season of AMC’s Breaking Bad, premiering July 15, or upcoming seasons of The Walking Dead, Mad Men, or any of our other popular shows. We urge Dish customers who want to have access to our programming to call 1-855-KEEP-AMC or visit www.keepamc.com.”
For its part, Dish is saying that AMC’s flagship channel doesn’t carry enough ratings weight with its subscribers to justify also paying for IFC and WE Tv. Dish also claims AMC has “devalued” its shows by letting them be streamed on over-the-top services like Netflix.
Dish has said that it will replace the channels with Mark Cuban’s independent network HDNet, which has plans to partner with Ryan Seacrest, AEG and Creative Artists Agency on the newly branded AXS.tv set to launch on July 2—one day after the removal of AMC.