UPDATE THURSDAY 6 AM: AMC Networks this morning issued a statement about its carriage dispute with AT&T:
We are disappointed that, just days before the July 15 season premiere of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” we have not yet reached an agreement with AT&T that adequately reflects the popularity of our programming and AMC’s position as a top tier network with acclaimed shows like “The Walking Dead,” basic cable’s highest-rated scripted drama series.
We have been consistently supportive partners of AT&T and are proud that our investment in original programming has provided so much value to all of our distribution partners. We hope AT&T will recognize this and quickly reach a fair agreement with us, so their viewers don’t lose out.
PREVIOUS WEDNESDAY 8 PM: While AMC Networks’ carriage dispute with Dish Network is still raging days before the companies’ current agreement expires June 30, AMC now has another carriage standoff that threatens to take the cable channels off more viewers’ TV sets. AT&T just issued a statement that AMC Networks’ AMC, IFC and We tv may go dark on its U-verse platform when the two sides’ carriage deal expires at 11:59 p.m. EST on June 30.
Here is the statement:
We are making every effort to reach a fair agreement and continue providing these channels to our customers. Frankly, we’re disappointed AMC Networks has decided to take its negotiations public, instead of working with us in good faith, especially since we’re still actively in negotiations
We’ve been in ongoing negotiations to renew this agreement, but AMC Networks is seeking an excessive rate increase in our overall fees for the right to deliver these channels. AMC Networks is asking that AT&T pay nearly double what we believe other competitors pay — including a smaller-sized competitor. We believe the rates they are seeking are disproportionate compared to the viewership we see across their channels.
We don’t think that’s reasonable, especially in these economic times, and we will continue to work toward a fair deal.
There’s an ongoing industry trend in which an increasing number of content providers seek unreasonable price increases from their service providers as those contracts expire. If we accept this cost increase from AMC Networks, it could result in higher prices for customers, and would only encourage other content providers to make similar demands. We don’t want customers to lose these channels, but we need to take a stand now to keep costs down while continuing to provide the quality programming customers want and deserve.