Thanks to one of the contract disputes in which some cable/satellite provider always seems to be entangled (also see DirecTV’s current tiff with Viacom, whose channels were pulled from the service a few days ago when negotiations failed), Dish Network dropped AMC, IFC and We TV back at the first of the month due to what they said were overly high fee increases, low ratings and the way that the channels’ programming was being “devalued” by placement on iTunes, Netflix and Amazon.com (if you’ve ever wondered why some networks refuse to put their shows up online for streaming or purchase, this is one of the main reasons).
AMC Networks, on the other hand, claims the dispute goes back to an ongoing court case over Dish’s decision to drop the group’s now-defunct Voom HD channels.
This disagreement has gotten amusingly petty, with AMC running ads during “Mad Men” in June warning Dish customers they were in danger of losing the channel, and Dish responding by moving AMC from channel 130 all the way up to the remote regions of the dial at 9609.
AMC’s latest salvo is to offer Dish customers a live stream of the “Breaking Bad” season premiere on Sunday. It’s free, though you need to pre-register starting tomorrow at 3pm at amctv.com/breakingbad4dish/. The company also notes for disgruntled customers that “The good news is every cable, phone and satellite company other than Dish carries AMC in its basic package and many providers are right now offering special incentives for people to switch and not miss Breaking Bad, Hell on Wheels, The Walking Dead and other favorite programs.”
That’s some Walter White-worthy hardball right there.
AMC’s also offered up “Breaking Bad Viewing Party Kits” for people who will have to “adopt” Dish subscribers no longer able to watch the show in their own homes.
In contrast to AMC Networks’ approach, Viacom today pulled free online access to full episodes of popular programming like “SpongeBob Squarepants,” “Jersey Shore” and “The Daily Show” in hopes of motivating frustrated DirecTV customers to get access by switching providers or further pressuring the company themselves.