A little more than a month after its services were restored to Dish Network’s subscribers, AMC
Networks is facing a disconnect from Verizon FiOS.
The contract signed in 2006 between the telco and the programmer, whose AMC service airs such Emmy-winning fare as Mad Men, Breaking Bad and zombie hit, The Walking Dead, TV’s top series among persons 18 to 49, expires on Dec. 31. The Walking Dead’s third mid-season finale debuts on Dec. 2.
The programmer on Nov. 25 began running a commercial and a crawl on AMC indicating that Verizon customers could lose access to "favorite Hollywood movies and AMC’s award-winning original series," with images of The Walking Dead, MadMen and Breaking Bad. The message encourages Verizon customers to “make your voice heard and act now.” It also lists the phone number 855-8-Keep-On and http://www.keepamcnetworks.com/.
In a statement on Nov. 26, the programmer said: "AMC Networks is informing our loyal viewers who are Verizon customers that we are in negotiations. Our discussions are ongoing and we are hopeful to reach an agreement that recognizes the fair value of our networks."
The telco issued its own statement on Monday morning: "There is no risk of FiOS TV customers losing AMC imminently, as AMC Networks has incorrectly claimed. This is nothing more than a desperate attempt by AMCN to scare our FiOS TV customers into thinking that they will lose their programming.
"Verizon has a history of working with top programmers to reach mutually beneficial agreements that enable our customers to continue enjoying the best programming on FiOS TV’s industry-leading service," the telco continued. "We continue to work hard on behalf of our customers, as we negotiate with AMC Networks to reach an agreement that is reasonable and in our customers’ best interest. It is unfortunate that AMCN has decided to unnecessarily publicize these discussions, but not surprising as they have a history of using their viewers as pawns in their negotiations with distributors."
Last month, Dish -- as part of $700 million settlement involving Cablevision and AMC predecessor company Rainbow Media Holdings, over defunct Voom HD programming service -- reinstated AMC, IFC, Sundance and WeTV, which had been off the DBS provider’s air since summer. Dish also restored Fuse, owned by The Madison Square Garden Co., and controlled by the Dolan family that also owns Cablevision.
Back in March, AMC and Suddenlink Communications averted a license fee disconnect after agreeing to a series of carriage extensions, following the expiration of their contract last Dec. 31.
At the keepamcnetworks.com website, the headline reads: "You Are About To Lose" followed by a scrolling video box that features information about We TV’s Mary, Mary New Season Premieres December 6; IFC’s Portlandia new season premieres January 2013; AMC’s The Walking Dead Sundays at 9 pm (ET); Exclusive Coverage of the Sundance Film Festival January 2013; and AMC Mad Men Returns Spring 2013.
Below, users are invited to “Take Action: Email Verizon Now or Call 855-8-Keep-On…Let Verizon Know You Want To Keep AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and We TV."
There is also an area reading: "Get Educated. Learn why Verizon may drop AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, and WE tv from your channel line-up. Click here to learn more:"
There, the information reads as follows:
"What You Stand To Lose
AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WEtv are home to some of television's most acclaimed and award-winning programs. Audience favorites include "Portlandia" on IFC, "Braxton Family Values" on WEtv and unparalleled coverage of the Sundance Film Festival on Sundance Channel.
AMC reigns as the ONLY cable network in history to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series - Drama for three consecutive years. Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade or creating acclaimed original programming, the AMC experience is an uncompromising celebration of great stories."
At the bottom of the screen, AMC’s provides a box asking: “Where else can I find the four channels?” In the case of this user, the answer "Optimum (866) 200-6446," resulted upon the entry of an email address and zip code.