I’m sure you saw it if you were watching The Walking Dead on AMC Sunday night. It was very hard to miss. Big blaring messages during “Slabtown” warning that satellite customers could lose access to AMC and, more importantly to us, new episodes of The Walking Dead.
The messages were AMC’s way of playing hardball with satellite provider DirecTV. AMC’s carriage agreement with DirecTV ends at the end of the year and the network has yet to reach a deal with DirecTV to renew the service, Deadline reports.
Because the current agreement lasts until the end of the year DirecTV customers will get to watch the first half of The Walking Dead. The second half, however, could be in jeopardy. Don’t think it can’t happen, AMC went off the air on DirecTV for three months in 2012 because of a similar dispute.
In a statement AMC claimed DirecTV “has not engaged in meaningful negotiations with us, which leaves us to doubt whether a timely renewal is possible. In addition, DirecTV is in violation of our current agreement, and it has dropped AMC in Latin America. We hope to finalize a new agreement quickly but in the meantime, we think it is important to alert DirecTV customers who care about The Walking Dead that their ability to watch the show on DirecTV is at risk.”
Money is, of course, at the heart of the issue. AMC wants more than DirecTV is willing to pay, so both companies have been trying to pull the consumer to their side with ads alleging the other company is being stubborn. In addition to its own ad on the topic, DirecTV released a statement about the impasse.
DirecTV assured its customers they “will not miss any of this year’s new season of The Walking Dead or any other shows. AMC is contractually obligated to provide all of its programming for several more months and we intend to renew our AMC partnership at a price that’s fair to our customers. ”
Note that in its statement DirecTV is careful to refer to “this year’s new season,” which could refer to the half that would be aired before the current carriage agreement ends.
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