A Tale of Two Disputes: The Very Different Cases of Dish Network vs. AMC & DirecTV vs. Viacom

On July 1, satellite carrier Dish Network dropped the networks of AMC. This includes IFC and WEtv in addition to AMC, the home of Emmy darlings Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and the ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead.  Dish says it’s because AMC asked for a price increase; AMC says it’s because of a law suit between the two companies over a now-defunct brand of HD networks called Voom.

Eleven days later, DirecTV dropped the channels owned by Viacom (MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, CMT, VH1, Spike, and more) over a dispute as to how much Viacom will charge the satellite company to transmit their networks.

The first major battle in the Dish/AMC war was last night when AMC unveiled the fifth and final season premiere of Breaking Bad, starring three-time Best Actor Emmy winner Bryan Cranston.  The winner was clearly AMC, as Breaking Bad pulled in the highest amount of viewers in the show’s history. Did AMC fans jump the Dish ship and sign up with another provider?

The next battle will be in October when the third season of The Walking Dead premieres. Last year, The Walking Dead broke ratings records not just for AMC but for all of basic cable with it’s story of survivors of a zombie apocalypse.

On the other hand, things aren’t looking so bright over at Viacom in light of DirecTV dropping their networks. Ratings are plummeting for Nickelodeon (down 33%) and MTV (down 43%).

Are you a satellite customer who’s suffering from a loss of programming? Who’s side are you on?


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