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Dish drops AMC (+WeTV, IFC & Sundance)


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#101 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 01:57 PM

Well, the battle is on and I fear our Charlie has made up his mind. Reporting on the today's quarterly financials conference call, AdAge tells us:

Dish Chairman-CEO Charles Ergen elaborated today on the assertion that digital outlets were undermining the AMC channels' value. "Those particular channels are also available to our customers through a variety of other sources, like iTunes, Amazon and Netflix," Mr. Ergen said during Dish Network's earnings call.

The networks "devalued their programming content" by making it available on multiple outlets, he said.

...The network has been vocal about its view that it is undervalued. It has been seeking about 75 cents a subscriber from cable and satellite companies, which would be a significant increase from the roughly 40 cents in carriage fees that analysts estimate the network receives now.

The article is full of information. But it is wrong on one point, at least in terms of Amazon:

AMC provides Netflix and other streaming video services only with library content; it doesn't make episodes of series available until nearly a year after they appear on TV. Most other cable networks operate the same way.

In fact, last night's "Mad Men" and "The Killing" episodes are available right now at Amazon, for example:

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#102 OFFLINE   satcrazy

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:23 PM

I'd still like to know how dish determine's AMC's "low,low,low viewership.


Anyone have any idea?

#103 OFFLINE   Mojo Jojo

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:26 PM

I'd still like to know how dish determine's AMC's "low,low,low viewership.

Anyone have any idea?


I always thought it was In bold on the channel lineup cards as a popular channel.

#104 OFFLINE   coldsteel

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:58 PM

I always thought it was In bold on the channel lineup cards as a popular channel.


It is on my copy...
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#105 OFFLINE   Michael P

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:20 PM

Well, the battle is on and I fear our Charlie has made up his mind. Reporting on the today's quarterly financials conference call, AdAge tells us: The article is full of information. But it is wrong on one point, at least in terms of Amazon:In fact, last night's "Mad Men" and "The Killing" episodes are available right now at Amazon, for example:

Posted Image


At the same time Charlie is complaining about the availability of "cable" programs via broadband, he himself pushed the Dish On Line feature. Did he forget that it costs $1.99 to view via Amazon? I'd rather get the channel full time as part of my AT-2xx package on my 622 than pay $1.99 per episode!
An E* subscriber continuously since February 1997.

#106 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:49 PM

Regarding the Dish On Line feature, I'm not sure that matters much to Charlie. But making Blockbuster competitive could be an element in this mix.

It's really hard to tell how much bluster there is here. Obviously when weighing where to cut to keep package costs down, the Rainbow Media channels won't attract subscriber numbers like the Disney/ESPN/ABC group which Dish has to deal with in the future.

Realistically, AMC, IFC, etc., don't have the audience numbers that Disney and ESPN do. But the Rainbow Media channels do attract their own niche viewers.

And whether Dolan's Rainbow Media can afford to lose all the Dish viewers is a big question.

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#107 OFFLINE   maartena

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 05:05 PM

I'd still like to know how dish determine's AMC's "low,low,low viewership.


Data collection from internet connected receivers. Now, I am a DirecTV customer, and with DirecTV you have to manually opt out datacollection in your account settings if you don't want DirecTV keep track of your viewing habits, but I would bet over 50% doesn't. And that is a pretty accurate sample size still.

Now, I don't know if Dish receivers are connected to the internet or to phone lines at all, I have never had Dish.

In addition to that data collection, they may poll/survey Dish customers. Maybe you get an email with your latest bill (if electronic) that invites you to take a survey online. Only customers would take the survey, so they would get a good idea how many people watch certain channels.

Then there is Nielsen. They collect viewing data with a device in your house that is either connected to a phone line (and calls in between 3 and 4 AM to transmit viewing info for that day) or an internet connection. How the technology exactly works is unclear to me, but they get data from roughly 30.000 people every day, all across the nation, and all across different TV systems. That is a pretty good sample size.

(To give you an idea about sample size, usually political polls are held among 500 to 1500 people, and usually they have an error margin of less then 3%, with 30k people you can make a pretty accurate, give or take 1%, list of ratings for television shows)
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#108 OFFLINE   Michael P

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 05:38 PM

Data collection from internet connected receivers. Now, I am a DirecTV customer, and with DirecTV you have to manually opt out datacollection in your account settings if you don't want DirecTV keep track of your viewing habits, but I would bet over 50% doesn't. And that is a pretty accurate sample size still.

Now, I don't know if Dish receivers are connected to the internet or to phone lines at all, I have never had Dish.

In addition to that data collection, they may poll/survey Dish customers. Maybe you get an email with your latest bill (if electronic) that invites you to take a survey online. Only customers would take the survey, so they would get a good idea how many people watch certain channels.

Then there is Nielsen. They collect viewing data with a device in your house that is either connected to a phone line (and calls in between 3 and 4 AM to transmit viewing info for that day) or an internet connection. How the technology exactly works is unclear to me, but they get data from roughly 30.000 people every day, all across the nation, and all across different TV systems. That is a pretty good sample size.

(To give you an idea about sample size, usually political polls are held among 500 to 1500 people, and usually they have an error margin of less then 3%, with 30k people you can make a pretty accurate, give or take 1%, list of ratings for television shows)

Yes they do have a broadband connection! I had mine connected until my router died.

This gives me an idea (perhaps too late). For those of you that like the Rainbow networks, and have the broadband connection to your E* DVR, keep tuned to AMC when you are not watching anything else. Keep it on 24/7. in other words SKEW their data!
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#109 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 06:10 PM

Yes they do have a broadband connection! I had mine connected until my router died.

This gives me an idea (perhaps too late). For those of you that like the Rainbow networks, and have the broadband connection to your E* DVR, keep tuned to AMC when you are not watching anything else. Keep it on 24/7. in other words SKEW their data!


Won't that give AMC more fodder to raise rates higher?
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#110 OFFLINE   MCHuf

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:26 PM

Well, the battle is on and I fear our Charlie has made up his mind. Reporting on the today's quarterly financials conference call, AdAge tells us: The article is full of information. But it is wrong on one point, at least in terms of Amazon:In fact, last night's "Mad Men" and "The Killing" episodes are available right now at Amazon, for example:

Posted Image


Well then, Charlie gonna have to devalue a whole lot more networks then. Because nearly every network has shows for sale on Amazon and iTunes.

#111 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:44 PM

Well then, Charlie gonna have to devalue a whole lot more networks then. Because nearly every network has shows for sale on Amazon and iTunes.


There's still a problem with people disconnecting parts of the story.

Dish said that Rainbow wants more money for AMC than is currently feasible for the current subscribers of that channel.

This isn't saying the channel isn't popular... it is saying AMC wants more money than Dish feels such popularity warrants.

Making up numbers, since we don't know fully what the deal is...

Say Dish is paying 40 cents per subscriber... and AMC wants 80 cents per subscriber. Dish realizes that this not only effects AMC but every other channel in that package... so if they let AMC double, then every other channel will start asking for double in that same package because every channel in the same package has the same # of Dish subscribers.

So... Dish has to weigh that... and knows they can't just give everybody double their current rates at the next negotiating table.

Do you want your package to double in price every other year?

So... Dish isn't saying AMC sucks... Dish isn't even saying they aren't willing to pay more for AMC... Dish has simply said that AMC has asked for too much more than they are willing to pay. AMC has to decide if they are willing to lose Dish entirely vs taking a smaller increase.

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#112 OFFLINE   mdavej

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:16 PM

There's still a problem with people disconnecting parts of the story.

I see your point that AMC's alternate distribution channels theoretically devalue it. But since everybody's content is ubiquitous, they're all devalued, hence by Dish's logic, if any network asks for any increase at all, then they have grounds to drop them. Such a move against AMC seems very arbitrary and disingenuous, and more likely just sour grapes over the lawsuit.

The biggest disconnect will be the one between me and Dish in June. My cable company now has more HD than Dish and DirecTV combined. I couldn't say that a few weeks ago or at any time in the past 10 years. So the timing couldn't be better.

#113 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:18 AM

The biggest disconnect will be the one between me and Dish in June. My cable company now has more HD than Dish and DirecTV combined. I couldn't say that a few weeks ago or at any time in the past 10 years. So the timing couldn't be better.

When I looked at it, I learned our cable company Comcast could provide us with everything we want to see with much of it on demand, but not for $44.99 a month.

For a "scripted-series-for-people-over-30" junkie, Dish's AT120 offers USA, TNT, FX, A&E, Syfy, and Lifetime. That also gets us ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, and The CW.

The media companies and Dish have convinced me that it really does boil down to money, our household's money. And in our case we have been paying $15.00 a month or $180.00 a year to have AMC and BBCA shows conveniently recorded. We regularly watch 3 series of 13 episodes a year on AMC. We can watch them from Amazon for $74.00, albeit less conveniently. The stuff on BBCA is more problematic. But it isn't worth $106.00 a year.

By subscribing to premiums like HBO, Showtime, and Starz only when they are airing scripted series we want to watch, we get to record all the movies released last year we want to see. The rest of the time we don't have to pay for the premiums.

Subscribing to AT200 (rather than AT120) for $15 a month gave us AMC and BBCA, but no extras like movies. I realize I've been lazy in managing our home entertainment budget.

As one customer, we aren't going to show up as an important item in any media company's balance sheet. But they do show up in ours. I guess that's where we need to be focused when it comes to home entertainment.

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#114 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 03:07 AM

Did he forget that it costs $1.99 to view via Amazon? I'd rather get the channel full time as part of my AT-2xx package on my 622 than pay $1.99 per episode!


That $1.99/episode is for SD. HD is $2.99/episode, or about $30/season according to the Season 4 pricing. Assuming the $0.75/customer number is correct, only 1/40 customers need to watch the show once a month to break even on the numbers. And that's just one show that some have mentioned here.

Now, I do not watch any of the scripted series on AMC, but I might occasionally watch a movie on it if one comes up that I care to watch. That'd be pretty infrequent, and I could probably get the same movie on-demand for free, without the commercials (which I skip with the 30-second button.) So I'm one of the 39 customers who don't watch it.

Frankly, I don't see the increase as an issue. I expect my bill to go up a few dollars a year as programming costs increase. I look at my bill now at $85/month (without discounts) and compare it to the $30 I paid DirecTV when I signed up back in 1995. That's about a 4% annual increase. However, that $30 didn't include the USSB stations, an HD DVR, or nearly the number of quality channels I get now. I could actually get a very similar package from Dish today for $45/month, which is less than inflation.

What I do see is that a small number of customers, probably more than 1/40, will leave Dish to keep AMC. I'm sure somebody at Dish has crunched the numbers and knows what it would cost them to drop AMC and concluded that the cost is less than the cost to keep them at that price. I guess we'll find out in June. If enough people cancel and cite the lack of AMC as their reason, that will get somebody's attention and maybe things would change. If not, then the bean counters win.

#115 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:03 AM

I see your point that AMC's alternate distribution channels theoretically devalue it. But since everybody's content is ubiquitous, they're all devalued, hence by Dish's logic, if any network asks for any increase at all, then they have grounds to drop them. Such a move against AMC seems very arbitrary and disingenuous, and more likely just sour grapes over the lawsuit.


Yes... but again, we don't know all the numbers (do we, maybe I missed them?)...

In these kinds of negotiations Dish would love status quo... Rainbow would love to get double. Rainbow will say "We can't continue to offer quality programming unless we get more money" and Dish will say "We can't continue to carry this channel at the cost they demand with the number of subscribers we have"... and both might be truthful statements.

The two companies will have to meet somewhere in the middle. If Dish truly has zero interest in the channel at any price, then they will hold the line and demand no increase... and Rainbow will either cave and decide status quo is better than losing whatever the number of Dish subscribers is.

If Rainbow takes the hard line, then there will be no amount Dish can offer short of their maximum demand... and we lose the channel.

The only way the channel stays is if Dish is willing to pay a little more and Rainbow is willing to accept that as better than the alternative.

This is how negotiations go.

Now... this wouldn't apply across the board to all channels. Dish's negotiations here might indeed be jaded by the court case with Rainbow and Dish might figure that they will be paying enough to Rainbow over the court costs and can't stomach paying even more to keep their channels.

But... that doesn't mean Dish feels similarly to other channels when their time comes up. Other channels might make more reasonable (in the eyes of Dish) request for increases and have less trouble renewing the contracts.

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#116 OFFLINE   Billzebub

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:04 AM

The Justice Department and the FCC might disagree with you here.


Adam Smith, on the other hand, would agree with me.:)

#117 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:41 AM

The two statements are not incompatible!
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#118 OFFLINE   zer0cool

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:27 AM

I can get Game of Thrones, Weeds, Californication, etc. on amazon / iTunes, not to mention thousands of movies.
Guess Dish better think about dropping HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.

#119 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:41 AM

Guess Dish better think about dropping HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.


They might... if those channels want to raise their rates higher than Dish thinks its customers would continue to pay!

Do you want your channels to double in price every time negotiations are renewed?

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#120 OFFLINE   zer0cool

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 10:19 AM

They might... if those channels want to raise their rates higher than Dish thinks its customers would continue to pay!

Do you want your channels to double in price every time negotiations are renewed?


Nah, I just want the right to cancel without penalty if they stop providing me with the services I had when I signed the contract. (Of course, by that token, Dish would have the right to increase my bill every time they added a new channel).

Or just give me the choice on whether I want to pay extra for AMC...

I understand why Dish has to negotiate the way it does, I just wish both sides could be more honest about it.




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