Dish Network subscribers who love AMC, I feel your pain. Losing your favorite station can be tough, I know, I was distraught when DirecTV dropped G4. If I were to lose AMC, I would probably switch my current cable subscriber immediately. No longer are you able to watch Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Mad Men. Where will you go to for classic movie marathons like “Mob Week” or “Fearfest”? This current war AMC is waging against Dish is not unwarranted, but will their messages be heard in time for the fall release of The Walking Dead?
A little back story on the situation: simply put, Dish did not renew their contract with AMC this past May and Dish subscribers have been without AMC, WE tv, and IFC since July.
As Dish puts it, they did not see it as a viable option to renew AMC, which in turn they would have to also pay for IFC and WE tv. Understandably, yes, it makes sense, to a point, that Dish shouldn’t have to pay for WE tv and IFC because of their low ratings. But if that means you lose a station like AMC with all the critically acclaimed programming it has to offer, I think the good outweighs the bad in the long run. Yes you may have to carry cable stations few watch, but you will keep your subscribers happier in the long run. In an New York Times article, AMC claims that it is not their ratings that caused Dish to drop their networks:
“Dish dropped our networks not because of ratings or rates. In fact, Dish has not discussed rates with us at all. Dish customers have lost some of their favorite shows because of an unrelated lawsuit which has nothing at all to do with our programming.”
AMC’s original parent company, Cablevision, has been in a lawsuit against Dish since 2008, which will see another hearing this September 18. There is some legal mumbo jumbo about affiliate fees and who gets what in advertising revenue. All this bickering is not helping anyone who wants to see AMC programming. Fortune.com leads to believe it is this legal battle that brought on Dish dropping AMC Networks in retaliation
One of the biggest complaints from a consumer side of losing AMC would be that they would no longer be able to catch The Walking Dead. Undoubtedly, the ratings of the show have proven to captivate big demographics and have boosted ratings for AMC exponentially.
How has AMC fought back against the blackout? With in your face gorilla marketing of course. This past August, AMC took to the streets of New York City and unleashed a flash mob of zombies upon the city in protest against Dish.
With months before TWD return to homes this fall, AMC wanted to send a message, letting everyone know that if you subscribe to Dish you will not be seeing TWD. AMC has also dedicated a YouTube contest to Dish subscribers who want their AMC back. There have been almost 200 participants who are looking to gain a $4000 cash prize and a Canon 7D Camera. (Check out www.WheresMyAMC.com for more information.)
Heading closer to October, AMC recently is pushing again with a zombie tour across America, riding the coattails of the presidential election. To gain national attention, A. Zombie – a paid actor to dress like a zombie – has announced his candidacy for presidency, fighting for your viewing rights.
Touring across six cities in a span of a few weeks ending September 5, A. Zombie is a one-issue candidate who wishes to rally zombie fans around the country who don’t have access to these networks and shows to find an alternative television provider before the highly-anticipated third season premiere on October 14, 2012 of A. Zombie’s favorite show, AMC’s The Walking Dead, the most watched basic cable scripted drama series among DISH subscribers, according to the Nielsen company.
A. Zombie’s campaign has visited San Diego, Dallas, Tampa for the Republican Convention, Atlanta, and is currently in Charlotte for the Democratic Convention September 3 – 4 and will be in New York City September 5. Visit AZom
Are all these marketing efforts in vain? Will all of this be a waste of the company’s time to get back onto the provider? AMC began their tactics trying to get audiences to petition Dish to bring back the station, and only subtly hinting to switch providers.
For some reason AMC runs weird commercials on their station that spouts, “AMC. Not on Dish”, but is that the right tactic? You can only see that commercial if you have Dish, so why promote it to those who already subscribe some where else? Why not push efforts to other outlets who reach to those who do not have Dish? Does AMC assume that those who do not are over at a friend’s house watching AMC? Utilize Twitter, YouTube, or anywhere else that isn’t your station.
Now, I would assume all hope is lost in trying to get Dish to come to their senses. With the big A. Zombie campaign, AMC is now directing audiences to switch immediately, providing an outlet as to how you can find which provider hosts AMC (KeepAMCnetworks.com/switch/). Will they have enough time to convince everyone to switch?
Dish is one of the biggest cable providers in the nation with 14 million subscribers, third behind Comcast (22M) and DirecTV (19M). Losing that many could really hurt ratings of TWD and potentially scare away advertisers of the show and all their other programming as well. Whatever happens, needs to happen quickly, October is a month away and there will be many blood thirsty zombie fans who will be without AMC and The Walking Dead.
Can’t we all just get along?
The Walking Deadseason 3 premiere airs Sunday, October 14, 2012 on AMC.