AT&T Threatens To Drop Rainbow Services
Telco Could Drop WeTv, IFC and AMC By Wednesday Over Contract Dispute
by R. Thomas Umstead -- Multichannel News, 7/9/2010 5:06:53 PM
AT&T U-verse subscribers may miss the upcoming season of Mad Men as the telco is set to drop AMC and several other Rainbow Programming-owned services next week over a contract dispute.
AT&T is threatening to pull Rainbow services AMC, WE TV and IFC if a carriage deal isn't completed by July 14, and earlier today began informing its more than 2 million subscribersabout the potential move through a settop box message.
AT&T director of communications Dawn Benton said that the telco is open to negotiating with Rainbow and extended an initial July 1 contract expiration date with the programmer to July 14 in an effort to try to reach an agreement.
"We're willing to continue to work toward reaching a fair agreement but frankly we seem to be an impasse with Rainbow," she said. "We want to reach a fair deal with Rainbow that reflects our growing subscriber base and reflects the appropriate value of Rainbow content."
A Rainbow spokesperson called AT&T's potential action "troubling." The move could keep AT&T subs from watching the July 25 premiere of popular AMC drama series Mad Men, which yesterday was nominated for 17 primetime Emmy Awards.
"AT&T is acting in an aggressive manner that puts their corporate interests ahead of their customers," said the spokesperson. "We are negotiating in good faith with AT&T and are hopeful that we can reach an agreement as soon as possible so that our viewers don't lose out."
The network has set up a website as well as a call in number, 1-877-9-KEEP ON, for AT&T subscribers to "demand better service" from the telco.