DISH says farewell to AMC and Mad Men

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 02-07-2012

Despite the loss of hit series like Mad Men, DISH has replaced three AMC Networks offerings (IFC and WE in addition to the flagship AMC channel) with what the company believes is stronger - and cheaper - movie and entertainment content.
DISH will be providing HDNet Movies to replace AMC, and is offering Style and HDNet to replace WE and IFC.
"HDNet Movies and HDNet are exciting offerings for our customers," said Dave Shull, senior vice president of programming for DISH. "These are networks that will bring great entertainment, including first-run, commercial-free movies in high definition to our customers."
The move however is geared to reduce the satellite provider's cost profile. "DISH is the only pay-TV provider that did not raise its core package prices in 2012," said Shull. "We will continue to fight hard for choice, control and value in home entertainment."
DISH notified AMC Networks earlier in the year of its decision not to renew its contract, citing the channels' high carriage costs compared to their relatively low viewership, despite hit series like the Walking Dead and Mad Men.
"A significant portion of any pay-TV bill goes to fees for content providers like AMC Networks," he added. "AMC Networks requires us to carry low-rated channels like IFC and WE to access a few popular AMC shows. The math is simple: it's not a good value for our customers."
Basic cable channels like AMC are finding it more difficult to command premiums for its carriage rights considering that its content is found across a number of different platforms, lincluding Netflix and other online outlets. DISH said that it considers that fact as "devaluing" the programming. The new movie channels, however, will offer differentiation, Shull said.
"One of AMC's biggest historical draws has been movies. However, their performance has been trumped by other DISH movie offerings, including the many thousands of titles available on Blockbuster @Home and from top-quality providers such as HBO, Showtime, Starz, EPIX, MGM HD, IndiePlex, and RetroPlex," Shull said.
DISH's actions come as AT&T and AMC Networks negotiate over what AT&T this week called an "excessive rate increase."