I don't know whether you will agree with this, but I started a thread HBO - Still the trailblazer in the 21st Century because I believe that the economic model they are developing offers a meaningful alternative for the 21st Century to get us out of these disputes where the burden is carried by the middleman - cable and satellite TV providers.
I didn't post in it, but I saw that thread. I agree with your assessment of the situation. I would only add, related to this discussion... HBO is a far better deal now than it originally was, so they are going in the right direction whereas many other channels are going opposite.
HBO was originally 1 channel, for a while 2 if you counted east + west coast feeds. I'm pretty sure I remember when it was $10 for just that single channel. That was a hard pill to swallow BUT they were also the only game in town for a while in terms of what they showed... so they could command that premium for movie lovers.
As time went by, and they had to compete with other networks both movie and TV program... HBO began creating original content AND adding channels to their suite. So... the HBO that now costs $16 with Dish includes 9 channels and most of them are in HD as well.
So... today's HBO has far more content, original and otherwise, and costs far less per channel than it originally did (i.e. the price over time has come down per-channel).
So, I could argue that IF companies like AMC that have a suite of channels and want Dish, DirecTV, etc. to take "all or none" were to go a la carte like HBO with their suite... then they could name their price and see what the market would bear.
Unfortunately, as we all know, companies like AMC know they wouldn't get as much money a la carte OR they would already be asking for that.. instead they want to be in the lowest tier where customers always subscribe so they can get a few pennies from everyone instead of trying for dollars from targeted users.
I did the math before... based on their highest rated program, to figure out how much those viewers would have had to pay per month IF AMC was a la carte and wanted the same money they get today. That's the game. AMC wants to brag about their viewership and yet simultaneously knows they are better off with 25 cents for every Dish subscriber in a tier than asking $1 or more from their "loyal" viewers.
It is a conscious choice... and while HBO puts the money and the quality in to pull it off and be able to attract customers to the price they demand... many other suites simply know they cannot pull this off.
And that's where we are... AMC complains that Dish doesn't want them, but Dish likely offers them these different alternatives (a la carte, suite a la carte, or higher money for 1 channel but drop lower-rated ones) and AMC wants its cake and to eat it too.