Today’s other bit of news regarding AMC is a little less upbeat. Dish Network Corp. has just announced that it will be dropping all of AMC Networks’ channels, which in addition to its flagship AMC also include WEtv, IFC, and the Sundance Channel. The contract between the two companies is set to expire at the end of June — which falls after the end of the current Mad Men season, but before the start of the next Breaking Bad season.
According to Dish, it concluded that networks’ ratings couldn’t justify the rate increase that AMC Networks was asking for. Moreover, Dish says, it was was unhappy that shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad were hitting outlets like Amazon.com, Netflix, and iTunes soon after airing on AMC — though AMC isn’t the only network whose series go online soon after a cable run. Dish promises its 14 million subscribers that it will “make alternative high-value channels available to our customers as replacements.”
For its part, AMC is insisting that the plans aren’t about ratings or value, but about a separate lawsuit filed against Dish by Cablevision (then the parent company of AMC) back in 2008. After Dish dropped AMC’s now-defunct Voom HD suite of channels, AMC sued Dish for $2.5 billion, citing a breach of contact. Last week, Dish lost its appeal of a pre-trial ruling that the company had destroyed evidence, and AMC believes Dish made its decision in retaliation.