Suddenlink Communications says AMC Networks has rejected a number of its proposals in the parties' ongoing license fee dispute.
The contract between AMC Networks, whose network stable comprises AMC, Sundance Channel, IFC and WeTV, expires at midnight on March 15. Unless an agreement can be reached, the programmer could pull the signals for those four networks from the MSO on Thursday morning.
Negotiations were continuing as of Tuesday afternoon, following a trio of extensions. The contract for the four networks was originally scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2011, before AMC pushed it to the end of February and now the upcoming midnight deadline on the ides of March.
The MSO in a message to its customers posted on its Suddenlink FYI website this morning indicates that the programmer on March 12 refused to accept the contract terms that AMC has with the National Cable Television Cooperative, whose nearly 1,000 member companies includes Suddenlink.
That followed AMC's nixing the day before of Suddenlink's proposal to extend the negotiating period for 30 days past the Ides of March deadline. The MSO's website notes that would ensure that its subscribers would get to see the second-season finale of The Walking Dead, scheduled to air on AMC on March 19.
AMC Networks, according to Suddenlink, also rejected the notion of conducting separate negotiations for AMC, and a deal tying IFC, Sundance and WeTV together.
Suddenlink claims the programmer is seeking a 50% increase this year and a 100% jump over the life of AMC's proposed pact,
The programmer has posited that the value of AMC has increased significantly as it has evolved from a service that was largely the home to theatricals to one of the most successful purveyors of original programming on the cable dial, with a roster that includes Emmy winners Mad Men and Breaking Bad and the aforementioned popular zombie show, The Walking Dead, which has scared up some of the top deliveries of persons 18-to-49 in cable television history.
AMC Networks issued the following statement on Tuesday afternoon: "We're proud we've been providing Suddenlink and their customers with entertaining, award-winning programming that has created enormous value for Suddenlink and is among the most popular on all of television. We have negotiated with Suddenlink in good faith for months and have provided several extensions to try to reach a fair agreement that will keep AMC's The Walking Dead, Mad Men and our other popular programming and networks available to Suddenlink customers.
The programmer noted that it has never suffered a disconnect with a distributor.
"AMC Networks continues to be carried by every other cable and satellite company and has never had its service disrupted in nearly 30 years," the company said. "We urge Suddenlink to put their customers first and come to an agreement that recognizes the value of AMC Networks as well as the popularity of our programming with their customers."
AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan, speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference last September, said AMC was deserving of a monthly subscriber rate of 75 cents