If AMC has your email address, you might have gotten a strange message on Thursday evening, warning you that if you want to watch “The Walking Dead” this Sunday night, you can watch it “everywhere” — except Hulu.
The message came with a link to the website wheretowatchtwd.com, but the site is not a viewing guide to your options for the upcoming Season 8 premiere (which also happens to be the 100th episode). Instead, it’s a form asking Hulu customers to enter their information: “To ensure you don’t miss the new season of the biggest show on TV, let Hulu know you want The Walking Dead!”
The campaign is most likely related to Hulu’s live TV streaming offering. That service includes major channels from almost every conglomerate, including Disney/ABC, NBCUniversal, CBS, 21st Century Fox, and Turner. But missing from that package: AMC Networks’ channels, which include AMC, Sundance TV, BBC America and WE TV. (Major networks from Discovery and Viacom also aren’t available yet.) AMC is already available on most of the other over-the-top streaming services, including DirecTV Now and Sling.
If this feels somewhat familiar, there’s a reason: AMC has often put “The Walking Dead” at the center of campaigns about the network’s availability, such as when it faced disputes with Dish Network in 2012 and DirecTV in 2014. By creating this campaign, AMC is clearly looking to use “The Walking Dead,” which remains one of the most popular shows on TV, as a bargaining chip for Hulu TV distribution.
This campaign is a bit confusing, however, as to most consumers “Hulu” means the original programming service, who are probably scratching their heads — “The Walking Dead” is an AMC show; why would the new season be available on Hulu? It’s not on Netflix, Amazon or HBO either.
AMC and Hulu have played nice in the past. Thanks to a licensing deal made in 2015, currently available on the service are 2016’s “Feed the Beast,” Season 1 of “Preacher,” and the first two seasons of “Fear the Walking Dead” (in both English and Spanish).
Meanwhile, “The Walking Dead” Seasons 1-7 are currently available on Netflix; in fact, Season 7 was only added back in September. Meanwhile, episodes of Season 8 at this point will only be available on AMC platforms.
“We have enormous respect for our partners at Hulu, with whom we share an extensive programming relationship,” AMC Networks said in a statement. “With an expanding array of providers delivering live television to consumers, we think it’s important to make our fans aware that this season’s The Walking Dead premiere, as well as subsequent episodes, are available everywhere except Hulu.”
IndieWire has also reached out to Hulu for comment, and will update this story accordingly. “The Walking Dead” Season 8 premieres Sunday, October 22 on AMC (and, it’s true for now, not on Hulu).