Telco TV

AMC, AT&T U-verse Ink Carriage Accord

7/01/2012 3:35 PM Eastern

Continuing to negotiate past the expiration of their affiliate agreement at midnight, AMC Networks and AT&T U-verse announced a new carriage contract on Sunday afternoon.
The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, keeps AMC, IFC and WeTV on the telco's video package. AMC Networks' other national service, Sundance Channel, was not part of these negotiations.

As the contract expiration neared, AT&T said that AMC Networks had been seeking an "excessive rate increase," so the parties evidently were able to bridge their differences.
"It was important to us on behalf of our U-verse TV customers to come to a positive resolution as quickly as possible. We appreciate everyone's willingness to make that happen, working diligently over the weekend, so customers can continue to enjoy the programming they love on U-verse, the fastest growing TV service in the country," said Jeff Weber, A&T president of content and advertising sales, in a statement.

AMC, which saw Dish Network drop all four of its national services, including AMC, WeTV and IFC with the start of July, issued its own statement that took a shot at the No. DBS provider.

"We have reached a long-term agreement with AT&T that appropriately recognizes the value of our networks and our award-winning and high-quality programming. We respect AT&T as a partner that has a genuine interest in working with us to ensure their customers continue to enjoy our programming, which includes the upcoming July 15 premiere of AMC's Breaking Bad.

"It's telling that AMC Networks has historically been able to negotiate fair agreements with television providers that reflect the value of our content," AMC continued. "Yet Dish, which dropped our networks as of July 1 never engaged with us in any rate discussions. Dish customers have lost some of their favorite shows because of an unrelated lawsuit which has nothing at all to do with our programming, our ratings or our rates."

AMC maintained that Dish disengaged over ongoing litigation involving Voom HD, a suite of defunct services owned by a subsidiary of Rainbow Media, the predecessor company of AMC Networks. For its part, Dish said it dropped the channels over their high costs compared with their relatively now viewership.

In March, AMC averted a distribution disconnect for its four networks with Suddenlink Communications.

September